Happy Endings by Margaret Atwood caught my attention based on two things; its content and structure. It was set up in a unique way that I never seen before. Being able to create so many different bodies having already a happy ending was kinda fascinating. The tragedies that were displayed also impressed me because I was able to actually gain a mentally picture of what really took place.
Also, Atwood’s ability to fit such concise information into such a small paragraph was also impressive. Not having things drawn out but instead detailing the main points of the story and the moral of your story in such small sequence is a stellar achievement. Every detail in my opinion was easy to comprehend and Atwood did a good job in making that possible.
Happy Endings was my preferred favorite of all four short stories and I hope to read many more text with such unique writing style.
The short story, Happy Endings, reminded me of a “What If Story”. What if John and Mary loved each other, what if John doesn’t love Mary but Mary loves John, what if Madge falls for Fred, etc… At first, I thought the story was going into the direction of “perspective”; like from the start we know John and Mary will, Letter A, have a happy ending. Then the story moves on to Letter B in which we find out Mary is really the one in love with John, not vice versa. Letter C to then reveal John’s actual love for Mary, but Mary’s sorrow for John. I thought there was going to be some sort of twist at the end in which would make sense of it all.
But yeah, at the end before the author made sense of the stories, I had already started to draw the conclusions. The stories were in no fashion meant to connect; there’d be no way. The author, Margaret Atwood, was trying to say that in the beginning there’s two people,man and woman. In between, there’s the lust and the life, and in the end, there’s death. It seems as if one of the points she was trying to make out was that either with a happy life, exciting life or miserable life, it’s still a life; and that “the only authentic ending” to that life is death.
One point that did have me laugh, was when Margaret Atwood stated, “endings are the same…don’t be deluded by any other endings, they’re fake”. We all live and we all die.
I had read some short stories written by Kate Chopin and I chose to read “The Story of an Hour” because it seemed to be an interesting short story.
As I was reading the short story, a line from the story caught my attention
“But she saw beyond that bitter moment a long procession of years to come that would belong to her absolutely. And she opened and spread her arms out to them in welcome.”
When Mrs. Mallard finds out that her husband, Mr. Mallard, passed away, she locked herself in a room. As she was in her room, she looked out the window and saw “patches of blue sky”, “new spring life”, trees and clouds. Then she suddenly shouted, “free, free, free!” revealing her happiness of her husband’s death. She believes that now she has freedom. Mrs. Mallard’s sister, Josephine, came to comfort her thinking she had locked herself in the room crying over her husband’s death. As Josephine was comforting her, Mrs. Mallard was whispering to herself “Free! Body and soul free!” Finally, when Mrs. Mallard came out of the room, she collapsed to see her husband opening the front doors to come inside the house. When she saw her husband, she “had died of heart disease–of joy that kills.” In my opinion, I think it means Mrs. Mallard is no longer free and that the freedom she has always wanted was now gone.
“The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin was interesting and I enjoyed reading it.
Being that I have read other stories by Kate Chopping, I automatically placed my mind set into the 1800s. She tends to write about women and embracing their sexuality and striving for the independence they are technically not entitled to, at the time, but according to her should have had.
With this short story I focused on the the last line.
“When the doctor came they said she had died of heart disease—of joy that kills.”
An immediate assumption would probably be that Mrs.Mallard died of a heart attack because she though her “beloved” husband had died and then just shows up on her door step. But I think differently.
Mrs. Mallard had like an automatic reaction of crying. However when she went to her room things changed. She started re-evaluating her life and current situation. Even though it was a rainy day, she saw all the beauties of the outside and describes it by using phrases such as “delicious breath,” “new spring life,” “patches of blue sky.” She then eventually realizes that her years “would belong to her absolutely.” To me that symbolizes how she views herself as her own person and not an extension of a man. She feels as if she is free to do as she pleases.
From the beginning the author states that Mrs.Mallard has “heart trouble” and although that is a medical condition, I feel like her heart troubles really emerge from all the suppression of emotions and lack of love.
So when they say she dies of joy that kills, I believe the true joy isn’t really that her husband is alive. But it’s actually the joy of realizing that she was so close to achieving that freedom that she yearned for and having it completely snatched away from her. She saw a new meaning to life and being stripped away from that realization ended up stripping her away from life and reality itself.
Overall I actually enjoyed reading this short story.