Essay on Society vs. Inhibition

Essay on Society vs. Inhibition

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Rules of society have influenced behaviors of people for centuries. But what happens when an individual does not agree with the rules of society? What happens when it is more important to a person to have freedom and independence than it is to live up to society’s expectations? Several pieces of literature by Kate Chopin address these questions; specifically, the short stories “A Pair of Silk Stockings” and “The Story of an Hour” give some feedback on the issues of society versus one’s free will and the consequences of one’s opinions conflicting with the expectations of society. Chopin uses many pressing issues of her era to display how people are punished for rejecting the limiting norms of society in her writings. “A Pair of Silk Stockings” and “The Story of an Hour” both deal with a woman’s traditional role as mother and wife, which has always been very strictly defined. At the same time, both protagonists of these stories longed to find a sense of independence and freedom.
In “the Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin, the protagonist, Mrs. Mallard, learns of her husband’s death. Society, of course, would expect her to be grief-stricken because of her loss, which Mrs. Mallard is fully conscious of: “She wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment, in her sister’s arms.” Mrs. Mallard was among other people when she heard the news about her husband, so she felt the pressures of what is expected by society: to show grief. However, as soon as she was alone, Mrs. Mallard was able to feel her true emotions: “She sat with her head thrown back upon the cushion of the chars; quite motionless…” As soon as Mrs. Mallard was in the privacy of her own bedroom, alone, the hysterical crying ceased because the pressure she felt to show gr...


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...sequence for breaking the rules of society was a long life of disappointment; she would never feel the happiness she had felt that day again.
Kate Chopin displays for her audience that with rule breaking comes consequences in her stories “A Pair of Silk Stockings” and “The Story of An Hour”. In these stories, Chopin uses her two female protagonists to send a message about women as well: they are never completely free from duty and responsibility. These women attempted to become free and independent women and break free from their roles as wives and mothers, even if only for a short while. However, according to society, that will never be possible for a woman. Mrs. Mallard and Mrs. Sommers learn this the hard way, and are punished for breaking the rules.

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