In the stories “Boys and Girls” by Munro and “The Story of an Hour” by Chopin, a character faces a challenge and undergoes some kind of transformation. The character may experience a lifechanging event, learn an important lesson, or make a crucial decision that has long-lasting effects. Analyze the transformation of the protagonist in both, comparing and contrasting the two.

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Comparable features of both stories are that the main character is female and that she undergoes a transformative experience that is related to liberation from gendered expectations. In Alice Munro’s “Boys and Girls,” the protagonist is a girl who sets free a horse and thereby gains a...

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Comparable features of both stories are that the main character is female and that she undergoes a transformative experience that is related to liberation from gendered expectations. In Alice Munro’s “Boys and Girls,” the protagonist is a girl who sets free a horse and thereby gains a sense of her own freedom. In Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour,” the protagonist is a married woman who is freed from the constraints of marriage when her husband dies—or so she believes.

Beyond the characters’ ages and marital status, contrasting aspects include the time period, setting, and resolution. In Munro’s story, the setting is rural and, while the time period is unstated, is likely to be the early-to-mid twentieth century. The story ends with the girl’s sense of triumph as she defies her father and asserts her independence, thereby rejecting the limited gender roles he had advocated. Chopin’s story, which takes place in a city and seems to be set at the turn of the twentieth century, ends with a twist: it is the wife rather than the husband who dies. The woman’s sense of liberation is brief and then reversed when she learns that her husband is still alive, and the shock kills her.

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