The Importance Of Time In Literature

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Time is malleable, as it can be stretched or compressed, especially when considered in literature. Just as the idea itself is a man-made construct, authors are able to utilize a given interval to their advantage, seemingly bending reality. Yet simultaneously, these jumps or limitations in time enhance the humanity of any given passage. They do this by commenting on the fact that the conscious does lose grasp of its surroundings and is able to process at an accelerated rate. For this, Realism writers opt to seemingly negate their own style by placing unique chronologies on their works. Two such works are “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin and “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” by Ambrose Bierce, with the former being told in an hour and the latter in even a shorter amount of time. Together,…show more content…
Yet, when juxtaposed, differing options are given that prove the individuality of each mind, even when engaged in the same action. Chopin and Bierce utilize self-serving time periods in their respective works in order to highlight the human method of escape that comes in direct contrast to reality. “The Story of an Hour” is a short story totally dictated by its title. With it, the passage is given its time period and in turn endowed with unique substance. The narrative could have been perfectly spread over a span of a day or two, yet without the brevity present, some aspects would not land with comparable impact. For example, perhaps halfway through the grieving period of her husband, Mrs. Mallard realizes the uselessness of love “in face of this possession of self-assertion which she suddenly recognized as the strongest impulse of her being” (Chopin 397). Her newfound hope in what should be a depressing situation has come so quickly that it can only be defined as profound. Chopin speeds up the process in order to make Mrs. Mallard’s thought not only a realization, but rather a
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