Mallard is the victim of her torturing husband, whereas in the other story the lead character is the victim of poverty and the so-called hypocritical values of the society and class discrimination. Both the lead characters, which seem to be weak initially emerge as strong characters towards the end of the stories. We can say that these stories have a strong theme and they speak about the "Quest for Identity" of the female lead characters.
In "The Story of an Hour", the narrator of the story is probably the writer herself. Being a woman and a true feminist she has handled this story in a very tender manner. The female protagonist, Mrs. Mallard comes from an upper class family. This is quite apparent from the way her house is described by the writer. The words like comfortable roomy armchair, an open square in front of the house, staircase, tall trees, twittering of birds and blue skies indicate that she lived a very comfortable life. But despite of all these comforts, she seems to be extremely unhappy with her life.
In "The House on Mango Street", the name of the narrator is Esperanza. In the first chapter of the story the names of the narrator and her parents are not revealed. We come to know of their names after reading the entire novel. Contrary to the "The Story of an hour ", the female protagonist in this story comes from a poor class family, which is also apparent from the way the writer has described her house. She describes her house in the following words - "It's small and red with tight steps in front and windows so small you'd think they were holding their breath. Bricks are crumbling in places, and the front door is so swollen you have to push hard to get in. There is no front yard, only four little elms the city planted by the curb. Out back is a small garage for the car we don't own yet and a small yard that looks smaller between the two buildings on either side. There are stairs in our house, but they're ordinary hallway stairs, and the house has only one washroom. Everybody has to share a bedroom-Mama and Papa, Carlos and Kiki, me and Nenny."
From these lines we can very well understand what the state of the house as well as the state of mind of the girl is. Thus "The House on Mango Street" is a depiction of the thoughts of a small girl who is growing up to the stage of adolescence and has started realizing slowly the prejudices in the society.
In "The Story of an Hour" the mood is gloomy and full of suspense and tragedy. When the sister of Mrs. Mallard, Josephine and her husband's friend Richard break the news of her husband's death to her, she is shocked initially and weeps in her sister's arms. But when she retires to her room and relaxes in her cozy armchair, she starts thinking about her past life. She lived in a society which had specific and strict rules of conduct, and she being from an elite class had to abide by the rules or the dogmas laid down by the society. She was dominated by her husband and did not have the liberty to take her own decisions. It is only when she sits alone, relaxed in the armchair that she becomes aware of her surroundings and their beauty. It shows that she was so engrossed in her married life and had so many preoccupations that she was oblivious to the true world. She was only used to living in the hypocritical world where money and social status had great significance. It is while she is enjoying her rediscovered identity and freedom and feeling happy, that she sees her husband