A Feminist Perspective of Kate Chopin's The Story of an Hour Essay

A Feminist Perspective of Kate Chopin's The Story of an Hour Essay

Length: 765 words (2.2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

A Feminist Perspective of Kate Chopin's The Story of an Hour

Kate Chopin employs the tool of irony in "The Story of an Hour" to carefully convey the problem inherent in women's unequal role in marital relationships. Chopin develops a careful plot in order to demonstrate this idea, one not socially acceptable at the end of the 19th century, and unfortunately, a concept that still does not appreciate widespread acceptance today, 100 years later as we near the end of the 20th century. Louise Mallard's death, foreshadowed in the initial line "Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with heart trouble" takes on quite a different meaning when the plot twists and the context of her sudden death is presented unexpectedly, not upon her shock at her husband's death, but instead in her inability to endure the fact that he lives.

While Chopin's employment of irony presents a socially unaccepted concept in a more acceptable format, it is the author's use of perspective that increases the impact of her message. Chopin's point might be lost, perhaps entirely, if the reader were not informed from Louise's viewpoint. While the other characters are oblivious to her actual joy in death, although it is described as such "When the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease - of joy that kills," their definition of this joy equates to her love for her husband. In contrast, because Chopin writes from the perspective of Louise, we understand that the intermittent love she feels for her husband, love itself dismissed as the "unsolved mystery," pales in comparison to the joy she feels upon the discovery that she can now live with the "possession of self-assertion which she suddenly recognized as the strongest impulse of her being."

... middle of paper ...

...for his wife Louise, Chopin writes to stress the problematic assumption inherent in an unequal relationship in which one individual exercises their "powerful will" to bend others.

Louise Mallard finds personal strength in her husband's death, ready to face the world as a whole person "She breathed a quick prayer that life might be long. It was only yesterday (prior to her husband's death) she had thought with a shudder that life might be long." The strength conveyed in the image of Louise carrying "herself unwittingly like a goddess of Victory" is unmistakable. However, the irony that her husband lives, and therefore, she cannot, conveys the limited options socially acceptable for women. Once Louise Mallard recognizes her desire to "live for herself," and the impossibility of doing so within the bounds of her marriage, her heart will not allow her to turn back.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Three Readers Response to The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin Essay

- Three Readers Response to "The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin My belief on marriage is a sacred vow taken by two people which joins them in union. Most people carry the belief that marriage should occur only when two people are in love; although this belief is common it is not always the case and people marry for a variety of reasons. In the short story "The Story of an Hour" Kate Chopin suggests that in the case of Mrs. Mallard and Mr. Mallard, love was not a deciding factor for their reason to get married....   [tags: The Story of an Hour Kate Chopin]

Free Essays
1192 words (3.4 pages)

The Story of the Hour by Kate Chopin Essay

- Short Story Analysis “The Story of the Hour” by Kate Chopin portrays an opposing perspective of marriage by presenting the reader with a woman who is somewhat untroubled by her husbands death. The main character, Mrs. Louise Mallard encounters the sense of freedom rather than sorrow after she got knowledge of her husbands death. After she learns that her husband, Brently, is still alive, it caused her to have a heart attack and die. Even though “The Story of the Hour” was published in the eighteen hundreds, the views of marriage in the story could coincide with this era as well....   [tags: short story analysis]

Better Essays
538 words (1.5 pages)

Kate Chopin's The Story of an Hour Essay

- In the era in which this short story was written, marriage was viewed differently as people view it today. Chopin is probably expressing her view on marriage through the character of Mrs. Mallard and her actions upon discovering that her husband had just past away. This was a time where woman were considered second hand citizens compared to men and where men may have voiced their authority and influence on their wife, not really giving them a chance to have their own opinion. Where in Mrs. Mallard's case may have caused her to bottle up her negative feelings of her husband....   [tags: The Story of an Hour 2014]

Better Essays
691 words (2 pages)

The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin Essay

- ... Louis, Missouri, Chopin was the daughter of an immigrant Irishman, Thomas O’ Flaherty and French-American mother, Eliza Faris. She was the youngest of three children and was particularly a happy one until her father’s sudden death. Thus, at the age of five, she was forced to reshape her concept of herself and her world. Eventually, the lack of male role models and men as central figures in her life as she matured greatly influenced Chopin as a writer (Ker). This lack would prevent her from experiencing the tradition of submission of women to men in all social spheres especially that of marriage as this was basically a fundamental social concept of her time (Ker)....   [tags: symbolism, women, oppression]

Better Essays
822 words (2.3 pages)

The Story of an Hour, by Kate Chopin Essay

- ... Chopin uses both of these conventions in “The Story of an Hour” to keep the reader deep in the emotions of each character. Taking place in the mind of Mrs. Mallard, the reader deepens his or her understanding of Mrs. Mallard’s personality, thoughts, and feelings. In the beginning of the story, Mrs. Mallard was described as having heart trouble, and being more of a tender lady. This is important because it explains why her sister would make sure to break the news in a gentle and careful way....   [tags: Literary Analysis, Marriage]

Better Essays
865 words (2.5 pages)

An Analysis of Kate Chopin’s The Story of an Hour and Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper

- An Analysis of Kate Chopin’s The Story of an Hour and Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s The Yellow Wallpaper “The Yellow Wallpaper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman and “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin are stories of two women that suffer from ailments, one mental the other physical, who are very emotionally detached from their husbands. Emotional detachment could stem from complacency in the marriage but I believe it’s their illness that is the cause of the disengagement. During the era in which these stories were written, marriages were an economic arrangement which had very little to do with love....   [tags: Chopin Gilman Story Hour Yellow Wallpaper]

Free Essays
1045 words (3 pages)

Analysis of The Story of an Hour Essay example

- “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin had a hidden story behind it, since reading it before I’ve been able to catch things I hadn’t before. I found taking a look at another reader’s perspective along with reading about the emotions, which another reader had caught on to. The purpose of this piece it to analyze the literary piece “The Story of an Hour” along with taking a look at other peoples analysis. While reading “The Story of an Hour” the literary terms that I found very fitting with the piece were dialogue along with tone....   [tags: Kate Chopin, story review]

Better Essays
599 words (1.7 pages)

Essay on The Attainment of Release in “The Story of An Hour” by Kate Chopin

- In her narrative, “The Story of An Hour”, Kate Chopin tells the story of a wife as she deals with her husband’s sudden death. The beginning of the story starts by stating Mrs. Mallard has a heart condition, and ends with her death, which is ironically due to the heart condition. Chopin allows open interpretation by not giving much detail about the marriage life of The Mallards. From my personal interpretation of the reading, I conclude that Louise gains freedom and release with the news of her husband’s death....   [tags: heart, freedom, husband]

Better Essays
656 words (1.9 pages)

Essay about The Story Of An Hour

- The story of an hour      Kate Chopin's 'The story of an hour' perceives this seemingly normal middle-class family with an extensive amount of colorful irony. Louise Mallard is a housewife who tries to lead the most standard life possible with her all-powerful husband.The many years of marriage has brought the feeling of emptiness and vacancy into the soul of Louise Mallard. Through her tribulations of marriage, releasing herself and setting both her body and mind free, and the deaths throughout the story irony encompasses and unifies this short story....   [tags: Kate Chopin essays research papers]

Better Essays
733 words (2.1 pages)

The Story of an Hour Essay

- The Story of an Hour 'The Story of an Hour' is one of Kate Chopin's most famous short stories. There is a great deal of marital instability in the story by Chopin because most of her well-known stories and novels deal with a woman who wishes for freedom or a marriage that is out of balance. In 'The Story of an Hour,' Chopin deals with an ironical twist; it is that the wife in the story, Louise Mallard, does not realize she is displeased with her marriage until she is told that her husband has been killed in a train accident....   [tags: American Literature Kate Chopin Feminism Essays]

Better Essays
1877 words (5.4 pages)