Woman Hollering Creek, Story of an Hour and A Rose for Miss Emily have many similarities with symbolism, characters, and societies expectation of women around that time period. With such dominant societal views concerning female gender roles, these three stories all have connections of how love and fear go hand in hand with acquiring your own freedom or even the loss of your freedom.
Cultural and societal views have had a major impact on both men and women for hundreds years. However, the standards for women have been unfair and unrealistic. Women had to abide by these roles and stay home and cook, take care of the household as well as take care of their Husband. Having to live this role makes a woman feel like they don’t have any sort of independence and they are property of their Husband instead of feeling like an equal in the relationship.
In the story Woman Hollering Creek, Cleofilas has a fairy tale way of looking at relationships. When she gets married her Father reminds her that he would “never throw her away.” Growing up with only a Father figure who took one the role of Mother and Father, Cleofila’s relied on Telenovelas for her insight on what a real relationship should be like. After moving to the U.S with her new husband, she promptly realized that she would not be living the lavish lifestyle of what she had seen in the Telenovelas. Moving to the U.S didn’t make Cleofilas a free independent woman. In fact, moving only made her more of a captive in this toxic marriage.
In Story of an Hour, Mrs. Mallard didn’t necessarily have a physically abusive relationship with Mr. Mallard, in fact, quite opposite of what Cleofilas and her Husband had. Mr. Mallard was extremely loving and caring to Mrs. Mallard. However, Mrs. Mallard felt suffocated and feared she would never be able to live her own life. With Mrs. Mallards heart troubles and having to stay home with an overbearing kind of love, she was trapped.
Having to abide by stereotypical gender roles, both of women felt captive, defenseless and dependent. However, Miss Emily’s captivity was much like Cleofilas with the fact the love of her Fathers was all she had known. When her Father died, she refused to accept the fact that her Father was gone and kept the body for in her house before giving her father a proper burial. Miss Emily had an attachment to a love that she never got, only a Fathers love. She feared letting go, and feared she would never truly be loved. The only way to acquire freedom is to take action yourself. Gathering up the courage to take your own action and do something without having a man’s approval was extremely rare in this time period. Even in today’s society it can be hard to gather the courage to let go of a toxic relationship and do what you need to do for yourself. With Cleofilas being physically and mentally abused regularly, things were far from a fairy tale life. Cleofilas knew this was not the life she had wanted and her husband was not the man she had envisioned marrying. It’s easy to see how Cleofilas had such a misunderstanding of what a real-life relationship is compared to the ones she had always seen on the Telenovelas.
Gender roles were very prominent around this time period. Women are supposed to have specific duties and ways to carry themselves, not only in society but also at home. Being controlled by your Husband was normal. Men ran the household. Women were expected to stay home, cook and clean, remain classy as well as obedient. One day at a routine checkup, her bruises were noticed at the doctor’s office. Cleofilas got her big break. Felice and Cleofilas headed to the Greyhound. Felice was not like any woman Cleofilas had ever seen. Felice was exquisite to Cleofilas. Felice had broken the stereotypical gender role. This was way out of the norm of how a woman was supposed to act. She was bold, independent and even owned her own truck. She was her own women! It showed Cleofilas this could be her fresh start, she could do this without Juan Pedro. Mrs. Mallard’s decision wasn’t as hard, she didn’t have to run away. When Mrs. Mallard’s thought her husband had died, she had a sense of freedom.
She could finally breathe, and live her own life. Mrs. Mallard didn’t have to make the decision for herself to leave her own marriage, the decision was made for her. It was the easiest way out. However, with Miss. Emily, she made the decision that she would not let Homer leave her, ever. Her fear of losing love drove her to an unstable mental state. Miss. Emily wanted love so badly, she was willing to give up her own freedom for love. When Cleofilas and Felice crossed the creek and Felice let out her yell, it represented her freedom. The creek represents the path that is feared, the path that is less traveled. Even the name of the creek seems very intimidating, and almost dark. The path that Cleofilas needed to take was also intimidating and frightening. Gathering the courage to get on the path less traveled to leave her husband took someone else helping her, but she finally did it. Leaving her ‘love’ meant freedom. Mrs. Mallard had heart problems which not only represented a physical disease, but it also represented an emotional condition for her as well. Her heart troubles simulated having trouble with her marriage, with love.
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