What are the similarities and differences in the theme of views of marriage between "The Story of an Hour" and "Trifles"?

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Doug Stuva eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The presentations of marriage in the two works you mention are similar in marriage's effects, but different in the marriages themselves.

Marriage is stifling for women living in male-dominated societies.  Both women in these works are stifled.  They must submit to their husbands, and cannot live their own lives and use their own imaginations, or think for themselves without consequences.  Both works are feminist in nature.

But the marriages themselves in the works are different.  The wife in "The Story of an Hour" has what is on the surface a good marriage.  The husband is kind and treats her well.  But that is the point of this story.  Marriage itself is confining.  The problem isn't that the wife has a bad husband, it's that she has a husband.  That is what is stifling.

In "Trifles," the husband is abusive and dominating.  He mistreats the wife and she is secluded, lonely, and beaten down, figuratively speaking.  And when he kills her bird, she retaliates.  She's had enough.

Again, then, the results of marriage are similar, but the marriages themselves, are different.

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The Story of an Hour

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