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Literature and the Plight of Humanity

            Regionalism author Kate Chopin and Victorian poet Robert Browning have masterfully created literature classics depicting the plight of humanity. Chopin's short story Story of an Hour and Browning's epic poem My Last Duchess have effectively presented the reader with women within their oppressive society; however, the authors present unique techniques to convey societal oppression as influenced by their literary genres. Chopin and Browning convey the plight of humanity through their characters by masterfully utilizing diction to create implied oppression and loss of identity.
             Chopin and Browning's works discuss the topic of marriage; moreover, marriage squanders identity. Since Chopin introduces Louise Mallard as "Mrs. Mallard, " Chopin emphasizes her loss of identity of identity due to her marriage. A passive voice utilized in the beginning paragraph avoids the subject altogether; Chopin later describes Louise as "young with a fair, calm face, whose lines bespoke repression and even a certain strength " (lines 29-30). Chopin manipulates diction to imply that Louise has suffered which a reader can imply is due to oppression from Brently and their marriage. Chopin also describes Louise's self-actualization as "beginning to recognize this thing that was approaching to possess her, and she was striving to beat it back with her will - as powerless as her two white slender hands would have been " (lines 37-38) depicting society's view of this newly widowed woman. Chopin distinguishes society's expectations of women through an interpretation as the cause of Louise's death by including the doctor's diagnosis: "she has died of heart disease -- of joy that kills " (lines 79-80). Whereas Chopin's piece focuses around Louise until her death, Browning's epic poem reports the Duchess's oppression from the perspective of her husband after her death. Browning never includes thoughts or an interpretation from the Duchess; the Duchess has no other identification besides her title given to her through marriage.

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