Comparing and Contrasting Literary Elements in Two Short Stories

Short stories are fictional work that is commonly written in prose. The short stories are known to focus on a single subject or single theme, and in most cases, the stories are written in a single setting. Because the story is concise, the number of characters is also limited to a few of them. Literary elements are essential items that make the story or literature to exist. Literary elements play a crucial role in helping us write, read, and understand literature. In the two short stories “A Respectable Woman” by Katherine (Kate) Chopin and “A Jury of Her Peers” by Susan Glaspell, there exists literary elements that are similar and others that are different. The following paper will compare and contrast the various literary elements used in these two short stories.

The setting of the two stories is different. The setting in the story of “A respectable Woman” is in the sugar plantation in Louisiana, which belongs to Gaston Baroda, probably in the period between the 1880s and early 1890s. The short story revolves around the character of Mrs. Baroda and her inner conflict, where we understand that she has affection and attracted to a friend of her husband, but she does not show it since she perceives herself as a respectable woman.  

On the other hand, the setting of “A Jury of Her Peers” is Dickson County, a rural setting in the early 20th century. As such, the setting of a given story is usually essential as it establishes its plot and theme. During this time in this story, the women had few opportunities which were restricted to keeping the house and being wives to their husbands, whereas men were out toiling in farms. The story, therefore, brings out the emptiness of Minnie Wright’s life, whereby she was in an abusive marriage with no child, thus leading to despair. In addition, Minnie’s loneliness and bitterness in her life prompted her to take away her husband’s life, and it is at that time that her friends realize that she was going through a lot, and they could have given her a listening ear.

One of the literary elements present in the story of respectable women is the use of speech-language. The characters keep conversing in the story, such as the conversation “When is he going–your friend?” she asked her husband one day. “For my part, he tires me frightfully.” “Not for a week yet, dear. I can’t understand; he gives you no trouble.” “No. I should like him better if he did; if he were more like others, and I had to plan somewhat for his comfort and enjoyment.” Gaston’s wife said (Chopin, 2). In the second short story, “A jury of her peers,” the speech is also present. The character communicates directly to one another. An example is “By the way,” he alleged, “has anything been moved?” He talked to the sheriff. “Are things just as you left them yesterday?” the county attorney asked (Glaspell, 7).

Another literary element is the plot. In the two stories, there is a sequence of events that flow throughout the respective story. In the first story reviewed, it begins with the invitation of a friend, and from the time, the friend came in stayed with them, and finally, he left. When he left, there was an argument on whether the friend should be allowed to go back, and finally, the couples agreed to let him come back.

 In the second story of “A jury of her peers,” the plot is similar. The story began when Martha was looking for his scarf, then she went to meet with her friends, and they were on a buggy (Glaspell, 2). They had to travel with friends, and during the journey, many issues arose, which greatly contributed to the plot of the story. The climax of the story is when Mrs. Hale’s hand had been touching her coat (Glaspell, 34). Throughout the story, the mood has been changing from when there was happiness to the end that ended abruptly with a sad tone.

            Additionally, the themes of the two stories are different, and the authors had specific targets. In the initial story, the theme is patience and perseverance. Mrs. Baroda was patient with his husbands’ friend. Despite the way he behaved, Mrs. Baroda patiently handled him and treated him in the best way possible. She was also willing to invite him another time in the future (Chopin, 7). However, in the second story, the theme is the roles of each gender whereby the tension arises due to the perception that women have over what men are blinded by. The kitchen can be described as an environment in which women are familiar with, and they understand everything. The men seem not aware of the essential things in the kitchen, and they end up struggling.

The story of “A Jury peers” has been used to retaliate the men’s superiority. According to the story, men are often considered logical, and their intellectual methods of investigation can lead to women becoming naughty. The power in men seems to have an impact in their marriages. As such, this is evident from the statement that statuses Mrs. Peters does not have to be investigated since “a sheriff’s wife is married to the law,” although she counters and does not prefer to view it in that manner (Glaspell, 27). As such, this retaliated as robust feminist them in the story. Literary elements are key elements that are used to make short stories real. In the two stories, it is evident that the plot of the stories contributed significantly to the themes of the stories.