The piece of literature “The Story of an Hour”, written by Kate Chopin, is a very important, and layered short story about a woman who receives news about her husband’s untimely death, and her immediate thoughts afterwards. Louise, the main character, is informed by her sister that Louise’s husband had been killed in a tragic train accident. After she immediately begins crying, she runs upstairs, seemingly to be by herself and lament the death of her husband in peace.
While contemplating the implications of his death near an open window, she becomes very aware of one thing. Although she definitely loved her dead husband, named Brently, in some sense, she was having trouble suppressing an overwhelming feeling of happiness. At first unexplainable, the author paints a vivid picture of the open window and a breeze, clearly used to illustrate the new freedom Louise was envisioning for herself. A married woman was very often subject to the will of their husbands, regardless of love or a lack of love. This idea of freedom overwhelms her, and she is actually happy at her new life. She dreams of all the prospects and doors now open to her.
Tragically, when coming downstairs with her sister, he seemingly dead husband walked through the door. This caused an immediate stress reaction, and Louise had a heart attack, and was pronounced dead. Chopin was clearly trying to illustrate the extent that women were subject to men unfairly.
The poem “Woman” by Nikki Giovanni, however, is very empowering with regards to women. When Chopin seemed to show despair in the character of Louise, by the time Giovanni wraps up the poem a very different message, tone, and idea is conveyed–showing a strong woman as a whole.
The entire poem is about a woman clearly seeking approval, or in some way needing it, from her love interest or significant other. It is clear that the man in her life does not support her in her ventures and decisions, and she seems to be codependent on him in some sense. Much of the poem is a descriptive narrative of different true and metaphorical ways the author attempted to grow as a person, and was stunted by this man, as well as her attempt at cultivating a real relationship with the man. He was clearly not receptive to any and all of her advances, but the final stanza illustrates the theme of the poem as a whole.
Giovanni says that although the woman decided to be a woman, and the man refused to be a man (possibly with regards to maturity), the woman was okay with that. She was content with herself, and her identity as an independent woman.
The short poem “We Real Cool” by Gwendolyn Brooks gives a different social perspective, though related. Ms. Brooks, a black woman whose life-span was literally the 20th century, frequently wrote poems describing difficulties as a woman, and specifically a black woman. The poem “We Real Cool” specifically outlines the small African American culture of which she was a part of in Chicago. African-American culture, in many ways, emerged as its own counter-culture. Brooks’ descriptive words illustrate much about the antisocial behavior blacks were attracted to as a product of the injustices they faced daily.