Oppression Of Women In Kate Chopin's The Story Of An Hour

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Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” offers readers a critical feminist view that focuses on female oppression in the 19th century society, especially in marriage. Chopin tells this story of gender identity and liberating freedom through the eyes of Louise Mallard. Critics discovered Chopin in the 1960’s during the rise of the feminist movement for her writings of “female spiritual emancipation” and sentiment against repression of the soul (Deter). In 1975, Susan Cahill declared the story “one of feminism’s sacred texts” (Toth). This theme displays the intense feelings of women’s empowerment during this time. In an extraordinarily gender based society, the determination and expression of a woman’s desire for unique identity distinct from her…show more content…
Chopin uses Louise Mallard’s character to illustrate the emotions of women during Victorian times. One indication of the protagonist 's oppression is in the first sentence where she is referred to as "Mrs. Mallard" (Meyer 15). Her husband is given a first name, but the protagonist 's first name is not revealed until much later in the story (15). Chopin is pointing to the title of woman as “wife” and object (16). Mrs. Mallard is dreadfully adverse to the concept of marriage since she feels it places limitations on her life. Originally, “she had thought with a shudder that life might be long,” she now “saw . . . a long procession of years to come that would belong to her absolutely. And she opened and spread her arms out to them in welcome” (16). She seemed to be the ideal wife when in actuality she struggled with the contentment of her marriage. This signified that she did not have her own identity and is confined in terms of her…show more content…
Mallard’s feelings and surroundings both internally and externally. For example, the birds’ singing outside employs spring and an expressive sense of relief. The fact that Mrs. Mallard heard the news differently than other women foreshadows her renowned aspiration for individualism (Meyer 15). She was able to accept its significance and acknowledged it promptly, which in turn suggests a lack of real mourning. Here, Chopin is notability showing Mrs. Mallard’s feminist perspective. “The new spring lie…delicious breath of rain…there were patches of blue sky” all symbolize a new beginning in her life that presents meaning (15). Louise was thrilled to finally be unchained from her controlling husband. Her storm of grief turned calm and suddenly “Her fancy was running riot along those days ahead of her. Spring days, and summer days, and all sorts of days that would be her own. She breathed a quick prayer that life might be long. It was only yesterday she had thought with a shudder that life might be long.” (16). Mrs. Mallard, astonished by these strange feelings of independence surfacing, tried to shun them away because she felt guilty for thinking in such a manner. Chopin is trying to show that women have a strong desire to live without restraint and can get along just fine without the interference of men
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