OCT
3
ESSAY

Although the settings in Kate Chopin\'s "Story of an Hour" and John Updike\'s "A&P" are different, they help reveal information about the story. "Story of an Hour" mostly uses a private setting to indicate how trapped Louise Mallard feels in her marriage, while "A&P" uses the public setting of a grocery store to showcase the people that cause Sammy to resent his job. The authors both utilize setting to hint at bigger problems within society. Both "Story of an Hour" and "A&P" have main characters that are trapped by societal obligations and the setting of the stories illuminate these problems.
The downstairs setting of "Story of An Hour" is a more public space of Louise\'s home, where Louise\'s reactions are scrutinized, she must be sad, and she must live up to her expectations. "She didn\'t hear the story as many women have heard the same, with a paralyzed inability to accept its significance...she wept at once"shows that Louise is different; she does not react like a normal woman would. Normal people expect her to react with that "paralyzed inability to accept its significance", but Louise is clearly different. The downstairs comes to represent a space where negative things happen to Louise. Her reaction to her husband\'s death hints that Louise is different. She has a social obligation to be sad when her husband dies, and she has to react that way because of the public downstairs setting.
The public downstairs setting forces Louise to show her grief, and then Louise must move upstairs to react to the news how she truly feels.