Louise's Death

Decent Essays
“When the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease-- of the joy that kills.” At the end of Kate Chopin’s short fiction“ The Story of an Hour”, the wife dies from a shock at the sight of her husband, who reported dead in a train disaster, unexpectedly return home. Throughout the story, there are many clues as to the true reason that causes Louise's death, the loss of freedom. Chopin uses irony to reflect a sharp illustration of women’s inferior position in the early century. At the same time, herself as a feminist of the nineteenth century represents women’s desire to gain autonomy and independence.
The story illustrates the dramatic scene that kills an independence-craving woman. When Louise Mallard’s sister and friend discover
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In the article “The Autonomous Female Self and the Death of Louise Mallard”, Mark Cunningham clearly states that “the story portrays the position of women in late nineteenth-century American society as so bleak that the attempt to break from the life-denying limitations of patriarchal society is itself self-destructive” (49). It evaluates Louise’s death as the tragedy of losing independence in marriage and being controlled by society’s denying perspective to female, as well as demonstrating the desire of the woman to live in an autonomous life at that time period. Upon this point, he emphasizes if Louise, representative of all women in the society, “break free of patriarchal definitions (wife, widow, lover) in her own mind, she will find no other social system to accept her: women have been unable to create a system of their own.” (Cunningham 49). It points out that the role of women which is only associated with domesticity and often tends to be undervalued. If Louise stops inhibiting her appetence of independence and develop a strong voice, it is like standing in the position that is gaining the whole social system. When Louise is there on her own, she fails to control the forbidden joy of being “free! Body and soul free.” (Chopin 3), which is actually contradicted to her death as her husband
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