Compare and contrast short story and poem

Posted: August 29th, 2013


Compare and contrast short story and poem

















Compare and contrast poem and short story

People say that no two things are alike. However, I would have to disagree. We are alike in many ways. With people, we all have eyes, ears, and mouth. Even with cars, plants, books, even literature! I believe that short stories and poetry are very similar. Today, I will compare and contrast a poem and Kate Chopin’s story. I will be using scholarly resources to help me. The first poem I will compare and contrast is called “The Story of an Hour” (Chopin, K.1894). This poem is about a woman to whom information was to be conveyed about the death of her spouse. After learning about his husband’s death, Mrs. Mallard began to enjoy life, and soon dies a free woman. The cause of her death was surprising as she died because of too much joy. Her heart could not bear the joy; hence, it overwhelmed and killed her.

The second short story I will compare and contrast called The Necklace (Maupassant, G. 1884). This short story is about A young couple that discovers that the upper society appears to glitter like a real necklace, but in reality, it may not always be so. Mathilde borrows her friend’s necklace, which she believes is a real diamond necklace. However, she ends up loosing it. She does not tell her friend, instead she and her husband borrow money from friends, and they replace the necklace. They work very hard for ten years, to ensure that they pay back their friends. One day Mathilde sees her old friend, the one she borrowed the necklace from. She tells her about how she lost the necklace and replaced the lost one. How her and her husband have been struggling for ten years paying that necklace back. Her friend says “Oh, my poor Mathilde. However, mine were false. At most they were worth five hundred francs!”(Maupassant, G. 1

The short story, as we know it, is a fictional narrative with a formal design. This narrative is usually a few pages long and deals with a single theme or idea that the writer wants to convey to his readers. This format is economical on the setting in addition to how the story is narrated. The character is revealed in action and there are fascinating encounters but rarely completely developed. In normal circumstances, short stories incline more on creating mood that narrating the story. A major difference between a short story and a poem is the latter is shorter than the former.

A short story consists of characters, a theme, dialogue, setting, symbolism, and narrating. The short story on the necklace comprises of characters like Mathilde, Mathilde’s husband, and Mme. Forester. The first paragraph tells us about the character of Mathilde. She was a beautiful and attractive girl, conceived through blunder of destiny in a family of employees. Her dowry was not paid, she did not look forward to anything, she was not popular, and married by a man rich and distinguished; who worked as a clerk in the offices dealing with educational matters. The theme in a short story is very important. The theme in a story is associated with an idea that lies behind the story. Every story narrows a broad underlying idea, shapes it in a unique way, and makes the underlying idea concrete. That is how theme is created. To identify a story’s theme it is necessary to look beyond the plot. The plot tells you what happens in a story, but the theme tells you the content of the story.

The theme in the story of the necklace (Maupassant. 1884) is very clear. The title of this story is one of the themes, because it makes the reader think about the title. However,   the real theme should be pride and greed. Pride because Mathilde always wished she could be in a higher class. She always wanted nice, fancy things. Mathilde Loisels considered the necklace to be real, immediately she looked at it. In the same way, she also considered every person in the function to be honest people. She thought so because of their possessions and their positions in the society. Unfortunately, the necklace was not real. The crowd at the party also seemed to judge the Mathilde by her outward look and they too were wrong. Being humble, frank and industrious are the most fundamental values in a person’s character. No one should look at materialism and conclude about the personality of a person. Some people are born with silver spoons in their mouths but their characters are far from values. Therefore, it does not matter about your background or current status what matters is good conduct

The setting in a short story is mainly a feature that attracts the reader’s imagination initially. The setting puts boundaries around the action and defines the environment in which conflicts can be witnessed and character development observed. Setting usually provides a social perspective as well, which identifies local customs, dress, speech, and patterns of thought. The setting in Guy de Maupassant literature is done in Paris. This period is in the second half of 19th century. The various places used are homes of Loisels; Madam Jeanne Forestier, the premises of Ministry of Education, shops in Paris, and parts of streets in Paris. Some of them are Champs Elysées and Rue des Martyrs.

While a poem consists of symbolism, sound, tone, theme, and uses figurative language. However, poetry intends to communicate a lot by using as least words as possible. There seems to be a similarity between short stories and poetry because the two avoid mentioning unnecessary things. This is done to prove the authors point.  When you read poetry, you can feel what the author is saying. Poetry is created by being imaginative especially in portraying feelings and thoughts. When poets write pieces, they are very precise. They use styles like metaphors and symbols relate what they say and want to mean. Due to this characteristic, it is very possible for a poem to have several meanings, depending on how one interprets it. One poem can fit two interpretations that show different times and locations. This is one of the most fascinating features of a poem.

In the poem, “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin (1894). Symbolism is very important. A symbol is something that has a literal identity but also stands for something else—something that is widely understood and has been developed over a long period of time or by common agreement. There are several classifications of symbols, including historical, religious, cultural, and psychological ones. In the poem “The Story of an Hour” (Chopin, K. 1894), there are many symbols. One of the symbols is “New spring life”. These were apparent in the area outside her home where all plants seemed to be awash with refreshed life. A new spring life means that it is a new beginning and a new life for Mrs. Mallard. In the poem, there is a symbolic color blue meaning peacefulness. Which means Mrs. Mallard is finally free. She had a youthful nature and her facial features portrayed hope and vigor. However, the years had not been good to her and she looked much older than her years really were.

Without sound and tone, a poem would not be complete. Identifying sounds and tone in a poem is a simple step that requires you to listen imaginatively as you read and to identify with feelings you encounter. Poets rely heavily on sound effects, choosing words that not only convey sound but also emphasize the particular sound (tone) they want the reader to sense. In the beginning of this story, the tone is free. “Free! Body and soul free!” she repeatedly said. Free, because she is not married anymore, and she was at liberty to do as she pleased.

It was obvious she had no remorse over her husband’s death, because she is free now. However, When the story is ending the medics diagnosed her and found out she had died of a heart disease. It was brought about by the excess joy the woman got. The theme in this poem by Chopin, K. (1894) is identity and individual identity. In the story Mrs. Mallard character is explained as this woman who was young, with a lovely welcoming face, which suggested it was oppressed. When she deserted herself, a tiny whisper came from her lips, which were slightly agape. She kept repeating a chant about her freedom. She was so excited to be free.

As you can see, short stories and poems are quite different from each other. A short story consists of characters, a theme, dialogue, setting, symbolism, and narrating. While a poem consists of symbolism, sound, tone, theme, and uses figurative language. The short story has its topic whereas the poem talks on something very different. Another notable difference is that a poem may have several interpretations (Eyre writer, 2000). A short story is limited to one message because the language used is quite specific. As it is evident in the poem and short story, a story can be dramatized on stage unlike a poem. Since a short story is longer than a poem, it is easier to act it on stage.

Some styles are uncommon to both genres. A good example rhymes. This style is only used in a poem and not in short stories. Rhymes make a poem to sound interesting and appealing because it gives rhythm to the poem. A short story is simply in a prose for readers to comprehend easily. A short story is made from fiction and written in a narrative form. A poem tends to captivate readers’ emotions by using styles like metaphors, images, figurative speech and other stylistic devices. There is also a difference in how they are read. A poem is read depending on the tone that was used to write it. A short story will just be narrated with a lively tone to maintain the attention of the audience (Haugh, 1998).

However, both these stories are quite similar also. Both short stories and poems use stylistic devices to convey their messages. They include symbols, figurative languages and poems tend to eliminate anything that is irrelevant in the work. This is important because the audience or readers will easily comprehend the work. However, when it comes to short stories and poetry, what should matter most is your personal opinion and what you enjoy reading, either poetry or a short story. As much as there are differences, there are equally similarities in these two types of literature works. Both follow a systematic flow and order. For example, both of them have a plot, characters, themes and styles. Both have utilized all of these features and this is why they successfully developed their work. For instance in the poem, the characters are Mrs. Mallard, her husband, doctors and other minor characters. In the short story, the characters are Mathilde, her husband, Madam Jeanne and the rest of the crowd at the party (Clugston, 2010).

The two pieces of work seem to use indirect language to communicate the intended message. The story talks of how a lady thought a counterfeit necklace was genuine. The writer was not focusing on the superficial meaning, but the inner meaning. The poem reflects on a woman who is glad that her oppressive husband is dead. The poet intends to put across a message about women oppression and undermination in the society (Eyre writers, 2000). The husband is a symbol of oppression, suppression and undermination of women in the community. After the husband dies, the woman is extremely happy. She becomes excessively happy until it ends up killing her. It could mean that when women become assertive and liberate, they should control themselves. Abuse of freedom will lead to great harm.

Literature is a very important aspect of a human being’s social life. Through literature, a lot is learnt. For instance, literature dates back to century ago. This is evidenced by the examples of poem and short story discussed. It therefore shows that, it has been used as a tool of communication and learning for very many years. This is why it is important to be keen in understanding poems, narratives, short stories, dramas and the rest of the genres. The continuity of passing them on to the forth coming generations should not cease, since they should also benefit from them (Haugh, 1998).


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