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In this article, the focus will be on poems and short stories. In the first part of the essay, the article will explore plays and poems from different poets and playwrights. In each case, the speaker and the main themes will be explored. In the second part of the article, three short stories will be analyzed and compared. Although poems and short stories are written by different authors, the thematic concerns and the behavior of characters can be similar.
Oscar Wilde, a novelist and a genius in literary matters wrote a comedy entitled 'The Importance of Being Earnest'. The main protagonist in the play is Jack Worthing who is a guardian to Cardew, a daughter of Thomas Cardew who had adopted Worthing when he was a child. The thematic concerns in the play include marriage, and triviality. In addition, the playwright has also explored the theme of the importance of not being earnest. The themes of hypocrisy and morality have also been explored.
Lawrence Webb is a famous poet who wrote the poem 'Marvell's Garden'. The first look at the poem gives one an impression that it is an exploration of an exciting experience. The poet criticizes the society through the use of a speaker who is a member of that society. The garden is portrayed as very beautiful but there are so many pleasures. Among the themes explored in the poem include immorality in the society and human passion. Though beautiful, the garden is encompassed with so many immoralities.
Aunt Jennifer's Tigers is a poem by Adrienne rich. The speaker in the poem is a woman who is tied up by the cultural matters and responsibilities that a married woman has. The woman aspires to be like a tiger, noble and fearless. The major thematic concerns that the poet has explored are marriage responsibilities and male chauvinism (Barnet et al., 2003, p. 670). The only way Aunt Jennifer finds suitable to escape form her present predicament is through knitting. The theme of death is also evident because it is the other way she can escape marriage bondage.
Marilyn Dumont wrote the poem letter to sir john A. MacDonald. The poet uses her voice to pass her message in the first person point of view. The Métis poet covers the thematic concerns of colonialism, race, and gender in her work. She manages to explore on these themes using her own experience. She addresses the letter to john who is already dead. Racism is evident in the poem when she refers to Indians as good for nothing. Her themes are mainly passed through the use of ironic language.
Seamus Heaney wrote the poem 'Digging' in 1939. The speaker in the poem is a young man who is not ready to follow the footsteps of his father and grandfather, who are working as ordinary laborers. The title of the poem is derived from the skills of digging that the father and grandfather have. The major thematic concern in that poem is change or transition. Ireland changes from being a rural region into an urban place. The poet manages to explore this theme through the use of vivid description (Gilman, 2008, p. 25).
Gregory Hollingshead is a Canadian writer and the writer of the short story 'The Naked Man'. The story mainly covers real life issues that have happened to real people. The narrator in the story is a young man who returns home from a visit in England only to find a young man and his lover living in his house. The major thematic concern in the story is love and friendship. The narrator falls in love with another man's woman and this leads to a fight between the two.
An author from United States, Charlotte Perkins Gilman wrote the short story 'The Yellow Wallpaper'. The short story is a collection of journals written by a physician's wife who is confined in a room that her husband has rented upstairs. The wife is forbidden to work and has to keep her journals out of her husband's reach. John is a personal doctor of his wife and he treats her like a patient who has no rights (Chopin, 2010, p. 63). In her confined room, the doctor's wife writes many journals about the wallpaper. She reveals the color of the wall paper and the different patches that it does not have and the reality that on touching it, one is left with yellow marks on the skin. The author has successfully used the wallpaper throughout the story in a bid to pass her message to the readers. The story is sometimes seen as form of gothic literature owing to its treatment of powerlessness and madness. The author has managed to use psychological horrors to criticize female position in a marriage. It is through this that the thematic concern of female subordination has been highlighted.
On the other hand, Kate Chopin is the author behind 'The Story of An Hour', which she wrote in 1894. One of the main characters Mrs. Mallard is suffering from a mental disease unlike John's wife in 'The Yellow Wallpaper' who is suffering from a mental problem. The theme of female subordination in marriage is evident in the two stories. Following her husband's death, Mallard did not receive the news directly for the fear that she would probably get shocked owing to her heart problem. Josephine, a sister to Mallard was very careful when breaking the sad news together with Richards who was a close friend of her late husband. Shortly after the sad news, Mallard wept uncontrollably in the hands of her sister. In the two stories, women are portrayed as very weak characters who cannot withstand difficult moments. Just like John's wife is depressed after being subjected to solitary rest, mallard is also living a life of depression owing to her heart problem.
A rose for Emily was brought in the limelight by William Faulkner in 1930. Just like the two afore-mentioned stories, the short story uses an unknown narrator to bring to the fore the odd circumstances that surrounds the life of Emily, who is in a sour relationship with her lover, her father, and the secrets that she is trying to hide (Faulkner, 2000, p. 72). The thematic concern of death courts the two stories 'A Rose for Emily' and 'The Story of An Hour'. The unknown narrator in Faulkner's story hints the reader about Emily's death from when the story commences. In every other instance, death takes control and the main protagonist is haunted by it throughout the story. Just like the gothic nature of Gilman's story, Faulkner's short story also portrays some elements of gothic literature. This is true if the odd relationship that the main protagonist has with dead people is anything to put into consideration.
All the three stories are written by feminist authors who coincidentally have portrayed women as weak characters. In every story, the authors have placed women in difficult situations in order to explore their weak areas. Gilman's story shows how a mentally sick woman suffers in the hands of unqualified doctor. This takes place knowing very well that danger awaits her. In Chopin's story, the inability of a female character to accept the sad news about her husband's death is evident. The author deliberately inflicts the main protagonist with a heart disease in order to portray women's weak character. Faulkner's story equally explores the weak character of women through Emily who is in odd relationships with dead people.
It is evident throughout the essay that poems, plays, and short stories can be written by different authors, only for them to bear similar themes and behavior of the characters. In the three short stories by Gilman, Faulkner, and Chopin, the authors have attempted to explore the weak character of women (Harrington, 2008, p. 180). Chopin and Faulkner explore the theme of death in their narrations. In the above analyzed poems, the authors have employed diverse styles to explore themes such as marriage, and immorality among others.