Kate Chopins The Story of an Hour.Written in 1894, The Story of an Hour is a story of a woman who, through the erroneously reported death of her husband, experienced true freedom. Both tragic and ironic, the story deals with the boundaries imposed on women by society in the nineteenth century. The author Kate Chopin, like the character in her story, had first-hand experience with the male-dominated society of that time and had experienced the death of her husband at a young age (Internet). The similarity between Kate Chopin and her heroine can only leave us to wonder how much of this story is fiction and how much is personal experience.
Indeed, Louise Mallard and Kate Chopins lives are very similar and ironic. Louises life began once she came to the realization that she could live for herself. During this hour she felt true joy and freedom, but her life ended abruptly as her husband walked through the door. Like Mrs. Mallard, Chopins writing career began once her husband died. She wrote a few collections of short stories, but when she began expressing her feminist views, the critics walked through the door and her life as a writer was over.
Life is full of surprises. We never know what is going to happen next. We can wake up in the morning happy and healthy, but disaster can strike at any minute. The cataclysms of our life sometimes give us what we were dreaming about for a long time. These life events can be so pleasant and desirable that we can even die if someone takes it away from us. This wonderful thing very often appears to be freedom: the life that you can lead as you like, decisions that you can make when you want, steps that you can take without instructions.
In The Story of an Hour Kate Chopin gives us the example of a situation when the wife is a victim of family relations.
explores not only the way in which patriarchal society, through its concepts of gender , its objectification of women in gender roles, and its institutionalization of marriage, constrains and oppresses women, but also the way in which it, ultimately, erases women and feminine desires. Because women are only secondary and other, they become the invisible counterparts to their husbands, with no desires, no voice, no identity. (Wohlpart 3).
For a long time women have been considered the inferior sex and, therefore, expected to be subservient to men. She couldnt make decisions, share her opinion, or exhibit her talents. All desires, voice and identity belonged only to men.
In my research paper I want to discuss the concept of freedom for a woman in Kate Chopins The Story of an Hour, and how the wrong news can make the happiest person in the world and then cause her death.
Relationships seem to be the favorite subject of Kate Chopins stories. As Margaret Bauer suggests that Chopin is concerned with exploring the dynamic interrelation between women and men, women and patriarchy, even women and women (Bauer 146). In The Story of an Hour Chopin deals with the subject of marriage. She illustrates the influence of family alliance on individual freedom. According to Wohlpart,The Story of an Hour describes the journey of Mrs. Mallard against the Cult of True Womanhood as she slowly becomes aware of her own desires and thus of a feminine self that has long been suppressed(Wohlpart 2). The Cult of True Womanhood in the XIX century included purity and domesticity. The former suggested that women must maintain their virtue. The latter denied them their intellectual and professional capabilities (Papke 12). Being the victim of this Cult, Louise Mallard was a good example of a wife without her own desires and feminine self.
The background of the story gives us the idea of what Mrs. Mallards marriage meant to her. We see a picture of a young well-to-do wife who seems to be very pleased with her life. We also get the impression that she was deeply in love with her husband. The news, brought by her sister and her husbands friend Richards about his death, filled her with a big sorrow: She wept