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RJ Draper

Mrs. Kitt

English 3p/ per:4

31st March 2017

Man is selfish and evil

American Realism was a style in art, music and literature that depicted contemporary

social realities and the lives and everyday activities of ordinary people. Kate Chopin and Edith

Wharton show how man is inherently selfish and evil. Giving examples through The Story of an

Hour and A Journey Kate Chopin and Edith Wharton both use irony and 3rd person point of

view to show the evil and selfishness within humans.

The Story of an Hour written by Kate Chopin shows the selfishness and evil within

humans. Kate uses irony and 3rd person point of view to express the feeling of selfish and evil

like nature. The Story of an Hour is about a husband and a wife. The husband passes away,

using 3rd person point of view, the wife then quickly realizes how she is now not tied down and

she is free. She talks about how she loves him (most of the time) but she is more excited to be

free and able to do whatever pleases her on her own time. Her husband then appears at the

doorstep and she dies of a heart attack from the shock that he never died. Free! Body and soul,

free! she kept whispering(Chopin) shows how excited and free she was now that her husband

is dead. Spring days, and summer days, and all sort of days that would be her own(Chopin),

also shows how excited she is that her husband is dead because she is no longer tied down. She
can now have days, and eventually her life for just herself. Its ironic because as a wife you

shouldnt be excited that the one who loved you most died, generally as a wife, she doesnt

expect to lose her husband so quick after marrying him. You should be distraught and have

feelings of hopelessness. If you love someone, you shouldnt be relieved that they are gone, you

should be sad. Her husband is dead and she is happy. She is selfish because she is more focused

on the fact that she can finally have day to herself. She is evil because she is happy that her own

husband died!

Examples of selfishness and evil within a human soul is also found in A Journey

written by Edith Wharton. A Journey takes place on a train with a husband and a wife. The

doctors gave the husband limited time to live because he is deathly ill. They are taking a train

from Colorado, where they temporary lived to there home town of New York. While on the train

the husband passes away. The wife finds out and quickly remembers to not tell anybody about

the death or they will be kicked off of the train! Through the rest of the story she doesnt tell

anyone about the dead husband on the train and when she finally arrives in New York, she dies.

The cause is yet unknown however she got what she deserved. I understand that she doesnt want

to be exiled from the train, however she couldve made different approaches with coping the

husbands death. For example, How she had rejoiced when doctors at last gave their consent to

his going home!(Wharton) shows how selfish the wife is. It is exciting to be going home but

they are only going home because he is just days before death. In his unhealthy state it is good to

be surrounded by family, however it is not moral to be more excited about seeing family and

being home then to being concerned with her husbands health. She drank the milk(Wharton)

shows how evil humans can be. The train attended brought the husband milk, but not knowing he
was dead. The wife drank the milk instead so they can stay on the train. Again showing the lack

of care she has for her husband and the more care she has to getting home.

Both works of literature show the selfishness and evil within humans using irony. Its

ironic that both women didnt respect their husbands enough to miss them now that they are

dead. In both cases, the women used irony to show how they actually feel about their dead


Work Cited

Wharton, Edith. A Journey. N.p.: n.p., 1899. Print.

Chopin, Kate. A Story of an Hour. N.p.: n.p., 1894. Print.