Story Of An Hour Critical Analysis

Decent Essays

“Kate Chopin, a wise and worldly woman, had refined the craft of fiction... to the point where it could face her strong inner theme of the female rebellion and see it through to a superb female work” (Ziff 24). In Chopin’s short story “The Story of an Hour,” a recurring theme is the oppressive nature of relationships in the nineteenth century. Upon the death of her husband Louise Mallard has an epiphany that brings her to realize that the loss of her husband is actually quite freeing. This contradicts the expected response to such a tragic circumstance, and contributes to Chopin’s idea of relationships, however loving or good-natured, being inherently oppressive. Chopin’s short story showcases through the characterization of Mrs. Mallard, her thoughts and actions after her husband’s death, and the subsequent revelation of her oppression, that marriage in the 19th century was restrictive and misogynistic.
“Mrs. Mallard represents the numerous women who silently bear the feelings of being trapped in unhappy marriages but whose escapes could be ephemeral at best” (Harris 465). Within this story, Chopin implies that marriage restricts women from true freedom, and that a woman is defined by the status of her husband. It is expected of Louise Mallard to have a heart attack when informed of her husband’s accident; Chopin wants to showcase the expectation of a woman’s life to revolve around her husband. Additionally, Mrs. Mallard’s disabling heart condition parallels the

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