Clever Manka and The Story of an Hour

“Clever Manka” and “Story of An Hour” are two pieces of literature that were written to address different audiences with different narrative style and different conclusions. Both are romantic stories where the main characters are women who represent the atypical role of subordinated woman; and with more or less success, claim their rights to be treat with respect and equality. “Clever Manka” is an anonymous fairy tale compiled in the book “The Shoemaker’s Apron” by Parker Fillmore and published in 1920. He wrote in his introductory note about of the audience of the book: “the present volume contains a cluster of charming little nursery tales…”(Fillmore ix).

In “Clever Manka” a poor farmer’s daughter becomes the wife of the burgomaster after she solves complicated riddles using her critical thinking. “Clever Manka”, a short story, addressed to children with a direct and simple narrative without metaphoric figures, give us a strong message about how the cleverness can make anybody successful, even Manka. Unlike many fairy tales, the story does not promote the reinforcement of traditional gender roles of men and women. Manka in “Clever Manka” is a young healthy woman, full of joy and caring for her father and her house. She has an extraordinary logical thinking to solve riddles and also she has a common sense of justice. These personal characteristics make her, a successful woman who –at the end of the story- happily marries the burgomaster. In the story she achieves her success using her intelligence not her beauty. Despite of her husband’s desire to keep her away from his duties as a judge, she becomes his advisor.

This was not easy. She had to overcome a disagreement with her husband who sent her to her father’s home in order to prevent Manka from intervening with his duties as a judge. Again, using her intelligence she convinces her husband that she is capable to help him in his job. “I thi…