Analysis of Kate Chopin's The Story of an Hour

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Back in 1894, the American writer Kate Chopin wrote the short-story "The Story of an Hour". Chopin, born O'Flaherty, wasn't renowned as a writer during her time, but she has achieved recognition in the 20th century especially with her 1899 novel "The Awakening". Her stories about strong women have really been paid attention to in relation to this century's sexual liberation debate.

This short-story revolves around what goes through a person's head when informed that a close family member has perished. However, I wouldn't say that this is the theme of the story, which I'll get back to. Louise Mallard is a young, yet married woman who suffers from heart trouble, and that's why her closest relatives feel that they have to break the news to her as gently as possible. Immediately after hearing the shocking news, Louise starts crying, and storms into her room. Since Louise spends the majority of the short-story in her room, this is the setting of the story. Noone really knows early in the story how Louise really feels about her husband dying. But the author certainly gives some evident hints.

The fourth paragraph's content, which revolves around the period of time where Louise has just entered her room, is fairly surprising. Everyone would expect Louise to weep with agony and pain, but instead she sits calmly down: "There stood, facing an open window, a comfortable, roomy armchair." The interested reader will already here discover that something is terribly wrong, since a word like comfortable is used. A newly widdowed woman would probably not look upon a chair as comfortable shortly after receiving the terri...

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...t she starts dreaming about it. That shows that she has an enormous respect for her husband, and doesn't dare to do anything that breaks or is in variance with his rights, restrictions and groundrules. Today we have procedures and laws regarding women's rights when it comes to feeling trapped in a marriage and urging to end it. Getting a divorce from one's husband is about as easy for women nowadays as opening a can of beer. Nevertheless, Chopin's story tells a lot about the situation women were in a century ago, and its morale has blossomed lately following the recent liberation debate. "The Story of an Hour" has probably inspired a great deal of women to oppose their husbands if they feel like their marriage isn't quite as jolly as it ought to be.
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