Kate Chopin is known for being criticized for empowering the subject of female sexuality and independence. In Chopin’s short story, “The Story of an Hour”, it is placed in a time where men were known as being the head of the household while women were only in charge of raising the children and caring for the home. In the 1890s, women didn’t have so much power to themselves compared to today’s society where female empowerment is frequently encouraged. Chopin’s story narrates a sequence of Mrs. Mallard’s emotions that goes within the motion of the story. As she overcomes the sudden death of her husband, her emotion of grief soon turns into the sudden feeling of freedom, later on emerging into a strong independent woman.
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
Feminist Perspectives in a Story of an Hour A Woman Far Ahead of Her Time, by Ann Bail Howard, discusses the nature of the female characters in Kate Chopin’s novel’s and short stories. Howard suggests that the women in Chopin’s stories are longing for independence and feel torn between the feminine duties of a married woman and the freedom associated with self-reliance. Howard’s view is correct to a point, but Chopin’s female characters can be viewed as more radically feminist than Howard realizes. Rather than simply being torn between independent and dependant versions of her personality, “The Story of an Hour’s” Mrs. Mallard actually rejoices in her newfound freedom, and, in the culmination of the story, the position of the woman
The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin is a short yet complex story, describing Mrs Mallard’s feelings. It focuses on the unfolding emotional state of Mrs Mallard after the news of her husbands death, and has overflowing symbolism and imagery. It is an impressive literary piece that touches the readers’ feelings and mind and allows the reader to have a connection to Mrs Mallard’s emotional process. Although the story is short, it is complete with each word carrying deep sense and meaning. It is written in the 19th century, a time that had highly restrictive gender roles that forbade women to live as they saw fit. Mrs Mallard experiences something not everyone during this time has the luck to have; the happiness of freedom that the reader only
The 1800s served as a turning point for the role of women in society. Nearing the end of the century, the idea that women should not work outside the home began to be challenged, and women started to hold jobs of their own (Fischer et al., 2000). Great opportunity was given to unmarried women, as they gained independence in living apart from their families (Fischer et al., 2000). Women began to fight for their independence, opposing the idea of only being known as a housewife. Kate Chopin was among the individuals who challenged what the role of women in society was during the late 1800s. Chopin shares her perspective in her two short stories, “The Story of an Hour” and “The Storm.” In “The Story of an Hour,” the main
`The Story of an Hour' was written in the nineteenth century and during this time highly restrictive gender roles forbade women to live as they saw fit. Kate Chopin presents in her story,
Mrs. Mallard is, outwardly, a typical woman in the 19th century with a husband, family, and home. It is first apparent that Mrs. Mallard is not satisfied with her role as a wife when she receives the news of her husband’s death and begins to feel a sensation of joy that overcomes her. The wife’s unhappiness with her married life is enhanced when the narrator states, “She breathed a quick prayer that life might be long. It was only yesterday she had thought with a shudder that life might be long.” (Chopin 16) The reader infers that Mrs. Mallard was figuratively suffocating under the duties and stereotypes a 19th century woman was subjected to, such as caring for a house and family instead of pursuing a career outside of the home. Mrs. Mallard views her husband’s death as an escape from her role and a chance to have control over her life and choices, showed when she whispers “Free! Body and soul free!” (Chopin 16) In the final portion of the story Mrs. Mallard’s husband returns home, having never been in an accident, and she dies of what doctors determine is an overwhelming joy for seeing her husband alive. The reader infers that Mrs. Mallard has lost her chance of a new start and freedom from her role and dies of grief over her loss of freedom. The author contrasts Mrs. Mallard’s lack of control and freedom in her life to
Mallard’s emotional heart trouble becomes more evident when she closes herself in her bedroom and realizes, through noticing the inspiring newness that surrounds her, that her husband’s death is an opportunity for a better life. Mrs. Mallard’s initial response to the news of her husband’s passing was devastation. “She wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment, in her sister's arms”(259). This is what one might expect of someone who had just lost someone they loved and cared deeply about, but this feeling was surprisingly fleeting for Mrs. Mallard. When Mrs. Mallard went up to her room, she closed the door behind her symbolic of her closing the door to her previous life and oppression. The open window in the room allowed her to see life in a new way, a way in which was inspiring and full of opportunities. “She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life”(259). Mrs. Mallard’s recognition of the “new spring life” symbolizes new beginnings for her as well(259). Birds are often used in literature to symbolize freedom, so when Mrs. Mallard’s notices them singing, it is another way in which Chopin combines symbolism and setting to strengthen feeling of freedom Mrs. Mallard is enjoying. Mrs. Mallard seemed to have never noticed these things before, as if she had been a sort of prisoner in her own home. Women in the 19th century felt quite often felt they were not free and sometimes like prisoners in their homes or to their husbands. “To become a husband or a wife was to inhabit a legal role, a legal personality, that carried with it strong and stringent public expectations as to conduct and responsibility. That legal person, that collection of legal rights and duties-the husband, the wife- existed regardless of an individual's relative discontent with the identity”(Hartog 97). Wives in the 19th century were not given the option to escape or leave their marriages no matter how they felt
Although true to its name regarding length, “The Story of an Hour,” written by Kate Chopin published in the eighteen-hundreds, is a profound story with a deeply tragic implication. At first glance, one may assume that this story is a short and not very complex read, and while that is
Mallard's idea of freedom and hope. Chopin states, "She . . . [sees] in the open square . . . the tops of trees that [are] . . . [alive] with the new spring life. The delicious breath of rain. . . . and countless sparrows [are] twittering in the eaves"(27). Instead of using a bad weather imagery, she uses lively spring imagery that suggests happiness, rebirth and freedom. Mrs. Mallard is beginning to appreciate the change in her life. She sees the death of her husband as a positive change because she has the freedom now to live her life to the fullest. She lets herself possessed by the idea of freedom as she whispers, "'Free! Body and soul free!'"(Chopin 28). She is out under her husband's authority. She is now glad about her existence and desires to live a long
The Story of an Hour: Freedom of Oppression Written by Kate Chopin in 1894, “The Story of an Hour” gives us a glimpse into the past where women were without many legal or fiscal rights. Men were the head of the household and took care of all “domestic affairs.” (128) In
Mrs. Mallard suffers from a heart condition; thus, her sister Josephine gently and carefully breaks the news of Mr. Mallard’s death. Richards, a close friend of Mr. Mallard, is the first to discover the news of Mr. Mallard’s railroad tragedy. When hearing the news, Mrs. Mallard collapses in grief into her sister’s arms and retreats upstairs into her room. While her sister begs Mrs. Mallard to open the door, Mrs. Mallard reflects on her feelings. She sinks into an armchair facing an open window noticing the “new spring life, the delicious breath of rain in the air, the peddler in the street crying his ware, the notes of a distant song which someone was singing and countless sparrows twittering in the eaves” (Chopin 556). This signifies a new blossoming life: a life that she would live for herself. Although her husband is loving, and she knows that she will weep again when she sees his dead body, she realizes how confined marriage is for her. Robert Evans, author of “Literary Contexts in Short Stories: Kate Chopin's “‘The Story of an Hour,’” claims that Mrs. Mallard looks forward to a bright future rather than a dreadful life. She becomes aware that she must live alone rather than being imprisoned by marriage. As these thoughts circulate in her mind, she keeps whispering, “Free! Body and soul free!” (Chopin 557).By conveying the story through Mrs. Mallard’s thoughts, Chopin portrays how women actually feel compared to what they present in society. While Josephine and society expect Mrs. Mallard to be grieving, Mrs. Mallard is actually looking forward to the days ahead of her: “Spring days, and summer days, and all sorts of days that would be her own” (Chopin 557). When Mrs. Mallard discovers that the news of her husband’s death was inaccurate, Mrs. Mallard dies from a heart attack after seeing her husband alive. The
Kate Chopin’s impressive literary piece, The Story of an Hour, encompasses the story of an hour of life, an hour of freedom. We must seize the day and live our lives to the fullest without any constraints. This very rich and complete short story carries a lot of meaning and touches a readers feelings as well as mind. Throughout this piece much symbolism is brought about, which only helps us to understand the meaning and success of Kate Chopin’s work. Kate allows her reader to think and allows us to understand the meaning of her story with the different uses of symbols such as heart troubles, the armchair, the open window, springtime, and the calm face and goddess of victory. We eventually realize little by little that Mrs. Mallard
Free At Last? Kate Chopin's short story, "The Story of an Hour" is largely about the forms of repression that women were forced to endure during the epoch in which the story was written (1894) and during much of the time that preceded it. During this time period, women quite frequently had to subjugate themselves to the will of their husbands, or to some other man who had a significant amount of control over their lives. Chopin chooses to address this phenomenon in an indirect manner with this particular short story, although she does so in a thematic manner which, of course, is the ""¦idea that lies behind the story. Every story narrows a broad underlying idea, shapes it in a unique way, and makes the underlying idea concrete" (Clugston 2010, 7.1) The theme that "The Story of an Hour" is based upon is the notion of the liberation of women from the overbearing influence of men. Chopin chooses to illustrate this theme quite dramatically through literary devices of symbolism and metaphor.
“The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin describes an hour in the life of an oppressed woman bound by marriage in the nineteenth century. It is only when Mrs. Mallard’s husband dies in a sudden railroad accident that she realizes she is no longer tied together by the ropes of man. At first she is shocked and horrified by the tragedy, for she did say “she had loved him – sometimes” (Chopin). However, once the tears were wept, a new bountiful life of freedom was now in the eyes of Mrs. Mallard. Chopin uses imagery, third person omniscient point of view, and concepts of relief and joy in “The Story of an Hour” to convey the true feelings of Mrs. Mallard as she is freed from the strenuous and unjust oppression of women due to society’s expectation of gender roles.