The Effect of Marriage on a Woman of the Victorian Period

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Kate Chopin Author Kate Chopin is considered a feminine author because most of her stories feature a plot about a turn of the twentieth century woman who is struggling against the restrictions of the gender biases of her period. At this time in history women were socially insignificant. They were not allowed to have any real power but instead were relegated to the private sphere. A woman's only role in life at the time was as wife and mother. Any ambition outside of these roles was considered abnormal and a proper woman of society would never dream of trying to move beyond their assigned gender roles. This of course is not natural and Chopin writes stories where socially repressed women illustrate their true need within for independence and freedom beyond what society says is appropriate. The female character's need for independence in Kate Chopin's writing is evident in two of her published short stories, "The Story of an Hour" and "The Storm." In "The Story of an Hour" a woman named Louise Mallard learns that her husband has been killed in a horrific train accident. Her loved ones are immediately concerned that this news will be too much for poor Louise to bear. Louise suffers from a heart ailment, which in the Victorian period made her only more attractive as a society wife because she was fragile and physically impaired and no woman should strive to be strong or healthy. Unexpectedly, the news of her husband's demise is not upsetting to Louise but instead she

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