Essay about Kate Chopin Short Stories

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Kate Chopin was an American feminist fiction writer and a woman ahead of her time. She lived in the socially conservative nineteenth-century, but in her stories, she wrote about unconventional characters, particularly women, that caused others to question her morality. Similar to the female characters in her stories, Kate Chopin was an independent woman. She would often smoke cigarettes or walk in the streets unaccompanied; these practices were considered unusual for a nineteenth-century woman to do ("Katherine Chopin"). One critic points out that many of Chopin's stories are characteristic of "independent heroines" and their conjugal relationships (qtd. in Hicks). "The Story of an Hour" and "The Storm" are two of Chopin's feministic short …show more content…
In addition, because women were uneducated, each needed a husband for economic support. Perhaps Mrs. Mallard only married because society told her that it was her duty as a woman to do so. Her true feelings of marriage and her husband were repressed, making her feel as if she were a prisoner. However, she would not let anyone know her thoughts because it was expected that she mourn the loss of her husband.
Marriages are mutual relationships, so in reality, neither partner in a marriage has absolute freedom. However, Mrs. Mallard's desire to "live for herself" shows how incompatible she was as a wife. She even reveals that at times she did not love her husband. Of course, in marriages, arguments are commonplace. During an argument, the couple may feel hatred more than they feel love (Berkove "Fatal"). Yet, Mrs. Millard views love as an "unsolved mystery" that is secondary to "self-assertion" which was "the strongest impulse of her being!" The fact that she has no children further illustrates her unfruitful marriage and desire for freedom.
It is curious that Mrs. Mallard is given the name "Louise" only after she realizes her freedom. At first she is referred to as "Mrs." or as "she." The transition shows how Louise eludes her marriage when her husband dies. Reference to her new name now gives Louise hope: "She breathed a quick prayer that life might be long." Yesterday, before her husband's death, she did not wish for a long life; perhaps because she was unhappy