The Story of an Hour Essay

497 WordsOct 2, 20132 Pages
In 1894, the roles and stereotypical qualities of women were different than those of today. In “The Story of an Hour,” Kate Chopin uses Mrs. Mallard’s reaction of joy towards newfound freedom, solitude, and intelligence to overcome the qualities of the typical woman in 1894. By showing Mrs. Mallard’s joy of new freedom and the lack of love in her marriage, Chopin shows the ordeals of wronged womanhood. With analysis it is clear that these items are placed to show the low amount of freedom in 1894, and that women married for stability, not love. In 1894, the attributes of a woman included gentleness, empathy, and sensitivity, therefore creating a weak sense of self. Chopin includes Mrs. Mallard’s heart infliction to show her weakness, body and soul. But how does Chopin refute the postures of femininity if Mrs. Mallard begins as a weak character? It is how her husband’s death affects her that shows the rejection of 1894 femininity. Mrs. Mallard is not hysterical with sadness, and instead is thoughtful of what Mr. Mallard’s death means in relation to her. She experiences a phase of realization, and suddenly she is adamant with the word “free,” it is almost as if she has never heard it before. Mrs. Mallard is in joy to her new solitude, thinking of the “years to come that would belong to her absolutely,” and how she would “live for herself.” Louise, deep in thought, experiences vast insight that women could not understand yet in 1894. Louise realizes that the joy from her husband’s death is not monstrous, and she is suddenly aware of what the future will hold. She began to understand that the boundaries of marriage were unfair, and that good or bad intentions did not change that. With all of these perceived changes in Mrs. Mallard’s opinions and character, it is clear that Chopin believes that women were meant for more in 1894. Chopin’s view of womanhood may

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