A Woman's Brief Freedom in "The Story of an Hour"

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"The Story of an Hour", was written and narrated by Kate Chopin. Chopin utilized an omniscient point of view, while exhibiting various types of irony throughout the story. The story takes place in the 19th century, an era when it was acceptable for men to regulate their wives. The setting is in a house where a discontented housewife is restricted. Women were obligated to take care of their domicile and care for the children--this was their primary purpose as a wife. The story focuses on the reaction and emotions of Mrs. Mallard, the protagonist in the story who learns of the death of her spouse.

The narrative begins with Josephine temperately (she does not want the news to trigger Mrs. Mallard's heart condition) informing her sister of the tragic death of Brently Mallard. Knowing, that Mrs. Mallard would need comforting, Richards--who was a close friend of Mr. Mallard, was also there to console her. Situational irony is displayed when Mrs. Mallard laments for a brief moment about the demise of her husband. As soon as the news was broken to her, Mrs. Mallard (the round and dynamic character) instantly accepts her husband's death and grieves for only a moment. "She did not hear the story as many women have heard the same, with a paralyzed inability to accept its significance." (Chopin 3). Mourning and feelings of shock were the type of emotions I expected from Mrs. Mallard. However, unbeknownst to the others she was brimming with delight that her spouse was dead.

Seeking solace, Mrs. Mallard retreats to her room, not wanting to be consoled by the people who care about her. One would presume Mrs. Mallard wanted solitude to grieve. Nevertheless, another occurrence of irony is presented when she no...

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...pin believed in feminism. The tone of the narrative represents Chopin's views. She clearly does not agree with the typecast that "a women's place is in the home." Chopin developed a character that valued life, individuality, and freedom which was acquired for a single hour.

Works Cited

EducETH English Page. Ed. Hans G. Fischer 28 July 2004

3 September 2004 http://www.educeth.ch/english/readinglist/chopink/.

Kate Chopin: A Re-Awakening - The Story of an Hour. Ed. John Shortess

1 September 2004 http://www.pbs.org/katechopin/library/storyofanhour.html

Roberts, Edgar V. and Jacobs, Henry E. Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing.

6th ed. Upper Saddle: Prentice Hall (2000): 190-201.
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