Room 19 and Hills Like White Elephants

702 Words3 Pages
Relationships are a unity based on love, commitment and mutual respect. Some individuals enter this covenant whole heartedly while others do not devote themselves in the same manner. In the short stories, “To Room Nineteen” by Doris Lessing and “Hills like White Elephants” by Ernest Hemingway there are distinct points of comparison as well as stark contrasts regarding gender roles and the personality attributes affecting the perception of love and effective communication. Every individual has a distinct personality based upon their upbringing, and social and cultural factors play distinct roles. Similar beliefs and goals regarding gender roles in the context of a family are essential to develop and nurture a strong and fulfilling relationship. In the story, “To Room 19”, Matthew has a positive attitude toward family life; he wants to assume the role of a full time father and husband. He continues to have the dominant role throughout the marriage, maintaining a job that he enjoys and having a social life outside of the confines of his home. In essence, his life rem ains unchanged, so he does not understand the daily pressures that his wife faces alone. In his mind, he is providing for his family. His wife, Susan on the other hand, accepts the fact that “children needed their mother to a certain age,”(870) and relinquishes her independence, which turns out to be a larger sacrifice than she imagined. Susan’s frustration and consequent feelings of inadequacy break down their marital communication and they begin to drift apart. Likewise, Matthew’s affair and subsequent admission causes resentment between them. Although Susan forgives him somewhat, she states “that forgiveness is hardly the word.” (870) Matthew cannot understand his wife’s need for solitude and this crisis ultimately led to the isolation that greatly contributed to the dissolution of their
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