In this essay I am examining the three short stories "Turned" written by Charlotte Perkins Gillman in 1911, "To Please His Wife" by Thomas Hardy in 1891 and "An Alpine Divorce" by Robert Barr in 1887.
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ESSAY In this essay I am examining the three short stories "Turned" written by Charlotte Perkins Gillman in 1911, "To Please His Wife" by Thomas Hardy in 1891 and "An Alpine Divorce" by Robert Barr in 1887. "Turned" is about an educated and conscious woman Mrs. Marroner and her relationship with her husband and her response and attitude towards an innocent girl who was exploited by Mr. Marroner. "To Please His Wife" tells about an over ambitious and jealous woman Joanne who lost her husband and children on sea. "An Alpine Divorce", a story of an unhappy marriage life of Mr. Bodman and Mrs. Bodman which ends with a dramatic twist. The content of these stories are family centred themes focussed on wife and husband relationship in particular and the status of women in the society in general. The styles of presentation are interesting. "Turned" is set in an urban environment where people have more opportunities to educate and more social exposure and interaction. Mrs. Marroner came to know that her husband had an illicit relationship with Gerta who was their servant. Until that time Mr. and Mrs. Marroner's married life was very good and romantic. They loved each other. They cared for each other. While going on business trip Mr. Marroner told the girl Gerta '' Be good to your mistress, Gerta...
She wants to marry higher I know, and only said ''Yes'' to me out of kindness. A fine, tall girl like her is not the sort for a plain sailor's wife: you be the best suited for that'. She was kind towards Joanna from the beginning. She started enquiring about welfare of Joanna and information about Shadrach and children's second voyage. Once Emily asked Joanna ''Then why did you let them go?'' You were doing fairly well'. Joanna replied that 'I made them go...And I will tell you why I could not bear that we should be only muddling on, and you so rich and thriving! Now I have told you, and you may hate me if you will''. Emily assured to Joanna that ''I shall never hate you, Joanna''. But Joanna was reluctant to reciprocate with Emily in the beginning. Finally, due to her poverty Joanna accepted Emily's offer to stay at Emily's house. The story starts with Shadrach's escape from death during sea voyage and his prayers at the church with dull and sorrowful setting. The story ends with Mr. Shadrach's and his children's death with an unknown accident on sea. The name of the ship for second voyage was 'Joanna'. 'Joanna' was lost on sea. The wife Mrs. Joanna was lost everything in life. This is an excellent comparison in the story.
Marroner. The writer succeeded in her purpose. Where as Thomas Hardy (To Please His Wife) and Robert Barr (An Alpine Divorce) were male writers. The content of 'To Please His Wife' is quite contrast to the 'Turned'. Through Joanna is a non-traditional woman character and Emily is a traditional women character. To support the traditions of the society the writer used Joanna's over ambitious character. The message is very clear. The role of women was not like Joanna, they should be like Emily. They should be gentle and good housewives. The message is clear that if they wanted to be independent, they will ruin their lives like Joanna. If we keep aside this analysis and think in other way like the moral of the story might be 'not to be over ambitious'. The writer so effectively presented the story. We feel sympathetic towards Joanna's bad luck though she was focussed as over ambitious. Robert Barr's 'An Alpine Divorce' presented a reality of wife and husband relationships of that time. The writer maintained balance while commenting on relationships. He did not blame either the wife or the husband. The writer described the situation of the society and legal laws of the time. The story suggested for the changes to be taken place in the society. The messages of these stories are different in nature. 'Turned' and 'An Alpine Divorce' are similar in one way. They wanted some changes in the society. But 'To Please His Wife' was not for any change.
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