English 28 Out-of-Class Essay Writing #1
Due on Tuesday, June 23, during class time.
In a previous semester, when asked about Louise Mallard of “The Story of an Hour” and her relationship to “A Simple Truth about Happiness,” two students had quite different writing responses.
Student One wrote, No one should feel sorry for Louise Mallard. Her unhappiness is her own fault. Even if she is in an arranged marriage, the man she married loves her. He is both “tender” and “kind.” As for her feelings, many wives love their husbands only “sometimes.” When Louise dies of disappointment, I found myself thinking not “Poor baby!” but “What a spoiled brat!” Instead of being unhappy about their unfulfilling marriages, wise women find things to do in order to make themselves happy. They take action in some form, whether it is to find work, to help others, or even to take a lover; they realize that concentrating on “the missing tile” is a source of their unhappiness, and they can choose not to concentrate on what is missing; and, finally, they are grateful for their good luck in having a house, food on the table, and breath in their lungs.”
Student Two had this to say: Louise Mallard is a heroic woman. For a long time, she was just going through the motions of life. She was not living. When her husband died, she not only discovered that she had a ‘missing tile,’ she found the tile, and its name was ‘freedom.’ Dennis Prager wrote, ‘If something is missing from your life, my suggestion is: Find it or drop it. If you cannot live without it, do whatever you can to find it. If you cannot find it, stop thinking about it and celebrate what you do have.’ Louise found her missing tile and she also found she could not live without it. She chose the freedom of death over a life without happiness. Her heart attack was a willful act, done by her own choice and in the spirit of rebellion because she refused to live another minute in an unhappy, unfulfilling, miserable marriage.
Writing Question: When you read “The Story of an Hour” in light of “A Simple Truth about Happiness,” which of these students’ views do you find more accurate to your own view? In other words, which of the above assessments do you think is more accurate to your understanding of “The Story of an Hour”? Explain your view in a fully developed essay that includes an introduction (with a thesis statement), body and conclusion paragraphs—along with adequate quotations. (Your thesis statement might read something like, “I agree with the first student because of a, b, and c.” Or, “I agree with the second student because of a, b, and c.)