Protagonists Express a Desire to Defy Society’s Norms and Expectations.


Every Human being has the desire to leave as per their inner desire. It is not always possible since every society has standards that guide behavior some of which contradict the inner desires. The protagonist in the stories, “The Story of an Hour,” “The Awaken” among other stories fail to leave as they wish from the beginning of the story. They only end up striving to gain their independence as the story unfolds. In these essay on how the protagonist desired to defy societal norms and expectations, Kate Chopin novel “The Awakening”   and “So what are you, anyway,” forms the primary source of reference. Part of the discussion will also show how the protagonists in the two stories propagate racism in the twentieth century and how society condemns them for their acts and how their desires and abilities were thwarted by society.  Finally, their courage, determination, support and reasons to refuse to comply with society’s rules, will form part of the analysis of the protagonists in the two stories. The major characters in “So what are you, anyway? Carole and the Norton, and those in “The Awakening” Desiree will show how they tried to go against the norms and the repulsion they got.

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In the earlier stage of the story, their ability to translate their desires into action was foreshadowed. Their desires were handled as an inner feeling which only came to light at the point where they could not any more suppress their desires. In the story “So what are you, anyway? The author uses a young girl Carole to snap at racism. The young girl is troubled by the mannerism of the Nortons’ who want to know what her race. Although a young lady Carole is traveling alone something that was against the expectations of many. For society, at that time such young should be accompanied by her parents. Although pushed by the Nortons, Carole still does not disclose her parent’s identity until at the end of the story. On the other hand, Edna is troubled about knowing the origin of her mother. It is only at the end that she discovers that her mother was of the despised race. In both books, the protagonists are against racism which was the norm then. Their abilities were thwarted by their gender and young age. As youths, they were expected to comply with the standards, but the author uses them to fight the evils caused by such standards.

 The protagonist though initially do not have enough courage, they are overwhelmed of suppressing their inner desires and ends up following their hearts. The fact that their desires contradicted the society’s expectation was enough reason to refuse complying to the societies norms.  Carole as a character did not understand why the Norton’s were questioning her so much. She held on until help came from the hostess who condemned the acts of the Norton’s. These show a change towards norms that were unethical. In Edna’s case, the visits from distant relatives who were blacks disturbed her a lot. She did not have enough guts to face the fact that her mother could be a black. The urge troubled her a lot until she decided to search for the truth.It was accomplished after she got her mother`s letter.

In conclusion, the two stories the authors have used their protagonist to fight two evils that are almost the same: racial discrimination and the issue of gender that was prevalent then. The authors show that whether lady or gentlemen we have a right to be respected. They also show that racial discrimination in an evil that needs to be fought by one and all. The two stories show that with resilience one can achieve the unachievable.

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