Women In Kate Chopin's The Story Of An Hour

Words: 1618
Pages: 7

The 19th Century is on record as one where male dominance and authoritarianism was the order of the day. Women were mainly passive and subservient. However, towards the end of the century, women started questioning their assigned roles and responded swiftly to the sex battle that was common during that period in a number of ways. They revolted and wanted to take action aimed at changing the perspective of the society. These women showed that they wanted more from life and had different aspirations than what was give to them at the time. This can be seen clearly in two different stories that were written in the 19th century; "The Story of an Hour" written by Kate Chopin a prominent female writer of that time, and "The Necklace" written by Guy …show more content…
There emerged female authored literature that addressed exuberance and despair. It brought to the fore the dreams of victory and the defeat of violence. This is well illustrated in the fiction of Kate Chopin, one of the top American authors of the 19th Century. According to Sandra Gilbert and Susan Gubar who were literary critics, the oscillation between despair and extremes of exuberance is well depicted in Kate Chopin’s literature “The Story of an Hour” (Robinson).
In order to be able to fully understand Chopin’s message, readers must envision the tradition of the Victorian society in which Kate lived. This was a society that clearly defined the gender role. Looking at Louse Mallard, one of the characters in the book, the author uses a woman who suddenly discovered a new life after the death of her husband. Ironically, Kate depicts Louise’s independence as a doomed fantasy because such freedom was actually unrealistic for the 19th Century woman.
In this book, Chopin clearly outlines the importance of a woman’s identity other than her main role as a man’s wife
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The man suddenly shows up to the lady’s dismay. It is apparent that she died from a combination of disappointment and shock when she sees her husband who suddenly takes away her freedom and excitement. Mallard cannot handle the thought of going back to the prison, that is, marriage. She succumbs to the fear of being taken back to bondage since the reappearance of her husband can only mean that she would be a wife again; she would lose her newly found identity and, indeed, freedom. She would resume living for her husband instead of enjoying her own life. She would become a stooge that only implements the orders and directives of her husband. This is too much for her. She has nothing and has lost everything at the same time. She is unable to reconcile herself with the fact that she has to go back to her old life (Eportfolio).
“The Story of an Hour” gives an idea about women’s identities and the struggles in the late 19th century marriages. Women who got married had to surrender their freedom to cage marriage. Chopin chooses to use Mrs. Mallard as an example to illustrate how women lived unhappily in their marriages. They were depressed and led a miserable life. All they hoped for was that one day, they would get the freedom to fight and win a war against the male chauvinism and dominance