One thing the author makes clear in this story is that Brently Mallard was not a mean or abusive husband to Louise. As Louise is sitting in the upstairs room alone, she admits that "she would weep again when she saw the kind, tender hands folded in death, the face that had never looked save with love upon her, fixed I just want to add to the theme of the role of women in marriage.
Indeed, critics have also drawn attention to this factor in her collection of short stories, Cuentos de Eva Luna. Jacoba Koene, for example, reports that: Allende herself first became engaged in the polemic surrounding the romance genre at an earlier juncture of her career when, as a journalist, she spent some time translating romantic love stories for a living.
So I changed the ending […]. And for a while no one noticed. They hated it, because they wanted the predictable ending, where they know from the very first page what was going to happen—no surprises.
And you have to be respectful with that. They want safe literature. However, while it may seem in Critical essay on the story of an hour above quotation that Allende is colluding with the general devaluation or contempt for popular art, it is worth pointing out that she appears to be referring to the conventional romances that is, before she changed their endings as stories rather than literature, and not her own versions of them.
Indeed, in many other interviews, Allende has consistently affirmed the value and function of her subsequent use of romance in her fiction, in terms such as the following: First, her assertion of the merits of the romance genre challenges the values of the predominantly patriarchal literary establishment which, as Finnegan pointed out, cherishes above all novels of the politically-engaged experimental type.
In this respect, Allende concurs with the work of many feminist scholars who have reappropriated the romance as a genre for scholarly research and study. For example, in her now classic book Reading the Romance: Women, Patriarchy and Popular Literature, Janice Radway comments that the romance is never simply a love story but [It] is also an exploration of the meaning of patriarchy for women.
As a result, it is concerned with the fact that men possess and regularly exercise power over them in all sorts of circumstances. By picturing the heroine in relative positions of weakness, romances are not necessarily endorsing her situation, but examining an all-too-common state of affairs in order to display possible strategies for coping with it.
If their writers are no longer apologizing for their activity, women critics are more than ever uncomfortable with these narratives. Such discomfort is, to a certain extent, justified, but what is most striking is that it too seems to manifest a defensiveness which has not been felt through […] feminist critics seem to be strenuously disassociating themselves from the seductiveness of the feminine texts.
Romance, Jackson points out, is experienced in different ways by men and women across different cultures. The narrative of romance, then, is not about happiness achieved but about happiness frustrated or deferred, and it would not be an exaggeration to say, paradoxically, that the romance narrative is premised on lack of happiness, of love, of the right now.
Many feminist scholars have thus become frustrated with the limitations of the romance, as did Allende in her own early experience of the genre. As I illustrated at the beginning of this article, critics such as Susana de Carvalho and Jacoba Koene claim that love and romance are at the centre of each of the stories of the collection Cuentos de Eva Luna.
Carvalho claims, for example, that all action is consequent to that emotion: Furthermore, even when romance is a central concern in certain stories it appears that Allende is no longer bound by the conventional generic constraints that dogged her earlier translations of romances. Elena is a somewhat anaemic, unattractive young girl as the opening lines of the story suggest: One evening, Bernal gets out his guitar and performs to the patrona and her guests.
Like the Pied Piper of Hamelin, his seductive strumming and singing enchant them all, including Elena, and inspire them to get up and dance. From then on, the young girl begins a growing fascination with, and desire for, Bernal. This involves her sneaking into his room while he is at work, lying on his bed and kissing his mirror, until she discovers that he is having an affair with her mother.
One afternoon, she manoeuvres things so that she comes home from school early whilst her mother is out shopping and Bernal is dozing on his bed.
She goes into his room, lies by his side and when she begins to touch and caress him, Bernal, apparently in the belief that it is her mother, pulls Elena on top of him and begins to make love to her. The text closes with an epilogue which takes up the story more than ten years later.
By this time Bernal and the mother have married, Elena has left home, gone through university and is working in a bank.
During the intervening years, we learn that Bernal has become slowly more and more obsessed with the memory of the young Elena and on her homecoming declares himself to her: When Bernal, years later, finally admits his need for or obsession with her, her qualities of character are clearly not compromised for, not only is Elena engaged to another man but, more significantly, she declares she has no recollection of that afternoon.
There is ultimately a quiet sense of her triumph at the close of the story. For example, when Elena discovers her mother and Bernal making love, we learn that:The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University houses writing resources and instructional material, and we provide these as a free service of the Writing Lab at Purdue.
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INTRODUCTION by Edward Waterman. Presented here in its entirety is Don Herron's famous essay, "The Dark Barbarian." This essay first appeared in the book of the same name, The Dark Barbarian, and was first published in This book, and the excellent essays within, were the first to take Robert E.
Howard and his work seriously and to consider Robert E. Howard a major literary figure.