The desire for freedom is a similar aspect of the female protagonists Louise Mallard, Mathilde Loisel, and Emily Grierson. In Kate Chopin’s, “The Story of an Hour,” Guy DE Maupassant’s, “The Necklace,” and William Faulkner’s, “A Rose for Emily,” the female protagonist’s have a desire for freedom. The stories are about three women living in patriarchal societies. Each character longs for freedom in a different way, but because of the men in their lives they are unable to make their own life decisions.
In “The Story of an Hour,” Louise Mallard is a repressed married woman that has a heart condition. The reaction to her husbands presumed death is a sign that she is unhappy. After hearing the tragic news she goes up stairs to her room and looks out an open window and notices “new spring life”, “the delicious breath of rain”, and “countless sparrows twittering in the eaves. ” As she looks out the window among the storm clouds, she stares at patches of blue sky. “It was not a glance of reflection, but rather indicated a suspension of intelligent thought. Louise is not grieving over her dead husband or having negative thoughts about her future.
She realizes that she will have freedom through her husbands death and whispers over and over, “free, free free! ” Her unhappiness is not with her husband, it is with her ranking in society because she is a married woman. Becoming a widow is the only chance she has to gain the power, money, respect, and most importantly freedom. Mathilde Loisel’s chances for freedom are decreased because she comes from a middle-class family of clerks. She had no dowry, no expectations, no means of being known, understood, loved, wedded by any rich and distinguished man; and she let herself be married to a little clerk at the Ministry of Public Instructions. ” Mathilde feels her marriage is beneath her and that she is worthy of a richer more powerful man. Because Mathilde is of a middle class family, she feels that she is rejected from societies social elite. Mr. Loisel pampers Mathilde with a maid, gives her money to buy expensive clothes, and invites her to a ball that “The whole official world” will attend.
Even though her husband spoils, her she still feels like a rich woman trapped in a poor woman’s body. She feels that because of the way she looks it is a “mistake of destiny” that she is born into a family of clerks. Her strong belief that money is the key to social mobility and freedom, demonstrates how materialistic, envious, and self centered she is. In Mathilde’s eyes, wealth opens the door to freedom. Emily Grierson is similar to Louise Mallard and Mathilde Loisel because she also desires freedom. Emily is living with her domineering father that thinks “None of the men were quite good enough” for her.
He isolates her from society, never allowing her to meet a potential husband. Emily has no real freedom at all. At her fathers death, Emily is well past the marrying age but “even with insanity in the family she wouldn’t have turned down all of her chances if they had really materialized. ” Then she meets Homer Barron, “a Yankee—a big, dark, ready man, with a big voice and eyes lighter than his face. ” Emily and Barron begin a relationship. It seems as if she is enjoying her new found freedom, but because of the twisted social norms her father instills in her, her idea of freedom is not actually what it should be.
To Emily freedom is having something to hold on to, a controlling father or husband does not scare her. Emily’s worst nightmare is to be left alone. For example, when her father dies she refuses to believe it. Some of the town ladies come over to pay their respects and “she told them that her father was not dead. She did that for three days. ” Emily totally denies the fact that her father leaves her. It is not surprising that Emily is terribly upset when her relationship with Homer falls apart.
Because she fears to be left alone, she kills Homer and keeps his decaying corpse in a spare room in her house. By killing Homer, her perverted idea of freedom is somewhat satisfied. She kills him because of her fear of being alone, if she has nothing to hold on to, she would not be free at all. Although all three characters have the desire to be free, freedom has a different meaning for each one. Emily’s idea of freedom is extremely different than Louise’s and Mathilde’s, but kind of the same because they all wanted to be free in their own ways.