Kate Chopins Short Stories
Comparison Between ‘A Study of Exiles’ and ‘The Dream of An Hour’
There is an astonishing relationship between “Exiles” (1914) by James Joyce and “The Story of An Hour” (1894) by Kate Chopin. They indeed share different themes – For the former, themes such as suffering, betrayals and personal freedom are portrayed throughout the text whilst for the latter, themes like death, marriage and aspiration for emancipation through independence are observed. In “Exiles”, there are four characters which include Richard, Robert, Bertha and Beatrice. Richard and Bertha are common-law husband and wife, but Bertha at the same time kept seducing Robert to have a more intimate relationship whilst Beatrice also had extramarital affairs with Richard. On the other hand, in “The Story of an Hour”, it portrays different emotional states especially for joy that Mrs. Mallard had gone through after losing her husband. Thus, one common theme of the two works is the desire for liberty as the female protagonists such as Bertha and Mrs. Mallard are trying to pursue what their hearts simply long for without conforming to the society which is filled with traditional values at that time. Nevertheless, both of the works could imply sexism which includes prejudice or discrimination based on sex or gender as both of the texts include unequal situations of being placed for women in a patriarchal society through means such as by different symbolic motifs, acts of the female protagonists and ironic social phenomenon observed in marriage. Hence in the following essay, I will be analyzing each of the elements of the texts respectively.
By comparing for both “Exiles” and “The Story of An Hour”, both of them portray individuals’ yearnings for freedom in conjunction with sexism through different symbolic motifs within the text and I will be focusing on TWO of them. In act one of “Exiles”, Richard and Robert kept discussing their perceptions and attitudes to women and Robert suddenly noticed a stone on the table which Bertha brought from the strand. It is indeed a form of symbol exemplifying Robert’s theory of what qualities of an ideal woman should have. Literally, the stone is a kind of hard solid mineral matter which could be used as building materials. However, when applying “stone” to the text, it could be a form of symbolism consisting of male’s mindsets of what characteristics women are supposed to possess which involved sexism as it includes prejudice to women that men think women are fragile and commandable. In addition, the stone is extremely hard and it represents that women should be perseverant, tough and independent – expected by men. Bertha’s act of bringing it from the strand to home could mean and imply to the men that she would like to have the features similar to that of a stone.
Besides, for “The Story of An Hour”, “the open window” in paragraph 4 is a symbol. Literally, it can be opened windows which can be commonly seen in classrooms or homes for better air circulation. However, when we apply it to the text, Mrs. Mallard gazes for much on the window and it represents the freedom and opportunities that have been awaiting her after her husband passed away. In paragraph 5 & 6, Mrs. Mallard could foresee joy through the sapphire sky, fleecy clouds, and treetops from the window, she could even hear chantings from people or birds. These could make her feel genuinely rapturous and once she entirely wallows in the exhilaration from it, she could recapture vitality in her life. Furthermore, the open window also represents the independence in her new life, which is now unimpeded by the demands from her husband. Two of the symbolism could reflect the dominance of male in a hegemonic society that they take control over women. Men accentuate on their power along with personal freedom and are inconsiderate of women’s emotions. Despite women long for liberty, the ideologies and conformity of the society had spontaneously labelled and constrained them unfortunately.
Moreover, by having female protagonists as the common ground for both “Exiles” and “The Story of An Hour”, the rebellious acts done by them could embody such a nature to fulfill their inner desires in the text. In “Exiles”, Bertha did not fulfill her role and obligations as a wife as she did not obey the commands of Richard who is her common-law husband. In fact, she simply followed where her heart takes her by involving in an intimate relationship with Robert. In act one, Robert asked for Bertha’s permission for him to kiss her hand, eyes and even mouth. Surprisingly, Bertha allowed him to do so with pleasure and engagement. They even committed in adultery later on in “Exiles”, although Bertha’s acts are just trying to make Richard feels jealous to accomplish her sense of existence and security in marriage. Besides, for “The Story on An Hour”, in paragraph 11, Mrs. Mallard yelled, “free, free, free!” and paragraph 13 mentioned that “There would be no one to live for during those coming years; she would live for herself.” Indeed, Mrs. Mallard is longing for individual freedom as she feels determined and contented after her husband “passed away”, believing that she could regain her sense of self and survive with only herself with delight and dignity with no one intruding into her life again. She is confident that she will live well without the accompaniment of her husband as it offers her with torment and constraints. Both the texts could show their aspirations of having personal freedom through the rebellious actions done by them, their situations of being trapped as “wives” in marriage and how they are trying to change their destinies in the male Chauvinist society.
Last but not least, both of the stories could imply women’s desire for liberty along with marriage in a patriarchal society with the ironic social phenomenon. In “Exiles”, Bertha possessed the individual freedom and bargaining power to either leave Richard or continue to flirt with Robert. However, she still accepted Richard’s proposal after all the incidents such as quarrels, betrayals and doubts happened and she still wished to possess this man wholeheartedly, it is a kind of situational irony as we expect that Bertha would leave Richard as Richard had devastated her by engaging in dalliance with other girls but in act three, they still chose to be united with each other in body and soul in utter nakedness at last. The result is very absurd as it is contrary to our expected results. On the other hand, Mrs. Mallard was wholly perplexed after being attached to her husband as she suffered from losing her sense of self after the marriage. In paragraph 21, she even died of being too joyful – “of the joy that kills” for being able to live without her husband in order for her to enjoy the utmost independence. This scene is very ironic and subtle because it is not the joy that killed, but instead the form of oppression to her role as a wife that killed. It could be a form of dramatic irony as the characters in the story do not truly comprehend Mrs. Mallard’s death. We as readers could notice that feminism is presented in Mrs. Mallard’s death as she could leave her husband eternally to break the patriarchal curtailment that had been restricting her true meaning of life. The ironies in the text could indeed reflect the unequal social expectations of men and women. It is arduous for women to get rid of the identity of being wives at the cost of their sacrifices to achieve “happy marriage” in a man-centered society.
Both “Exiles” and “The Story of An Hour” could imply sexism which includes prejudice or discrimination based on sex as both of the texts include unequal situations being placed for women in a patriarchal society through means such as by different symbolic motifs, steps done by the female protagonists and ironic social phenomenon which is observed in marriage as mentioned. Feminists sacrificed so much during their pathway for pursuing personal liberty but both of the texts imply their melancholic fates and some elements such as time or even lives must be exchanged in return but the process is still worth it for them to strive for gender equality in the long-term.
The Perception Of Marriage In The Kiss And The Gift Of The Magi
Marriage has always been an innate part of a person’s life. The perception of marriage differs from person to person. Upon analysing the two stories ‘The gift of the magi’ by O. Henry and ‘The kiss’ by Kate Chopin, we could see that the main characters in both stories have least similarities.
When we look into the depths of the characters in the story ‘The gift of the Magi’, it is very profound. Della and Jim can be viewed as a couple with two big hearts although they are poor in material wealth. Della, who is loyal and with infinite love for her husband in her heart, tries to save up money to buy gift for Jim for Christmas but little could she save which wouldn’t serve the purpose of buying a gift for him. Her immense love for Jim can be seen when she thinks, “There was nothing to do but fall on the bed and cry” (O. Henry). Finally, she sells her hair which is very dear to her to afford a gift for her husband, a golden chain to wear with the beautiful golden watch that he owns. Whereas Jim who is also loyal and a loving husband to Della sells his watch to buy his wife a gift and he ends up buying a comb that she wished to have once to comb her beautiful hair. Upon knowing what they sacrificed to buy each other gifts they realize their love for each other once again. O Henry consider them as the wisest of all couples although it doesn’t sound so practical in real life. The couple proves that more than the material wealth people possess, what matters is the love in their hearts for each other and at the end that is the only thing survives.
On the other hand, in the story ‘the kiss’ the couple draw a completely different picture of husband-wife relationships. Here the couple, unlike the couple in the other story has least of loyalty to each other. The wife, Nathalie is portrayed as a woman with hidden motives who has the ability to turn bad situations into good and in her favour, not in a positive way though. She, when is about to be caught while engaging in an intimate relationship with another man who is more romantic and could satisfy her fantasies, successfully convinced her husband that the man is just a close friend of her and more like a brother. Nathalie on the one hand chooses a husband with all the material wealth she could dream of and on the other chooses to have an extra marital affair with a man just like she visualizes in her fantasies. The relationship between the husband and wife is obviously not an ideal one. She chooses to have both wealth and romance by having two different people in her life and shows the least of loyalty and genuineness. In this story she is depicted as having a dictatorial character. This is evident at the end of the story, “She felt like a chess player who, by the clever handling of his pieces, sees the game taking the course intended” (Chopin, Kate).
Della in ‘The gift of the Maggi’ represents a woman with the softer image of femininity and an ideal wife who can be called as the epitome of love, the one who sacrifices her dearest of everything. On the contrary, Nathalie in ‘The kiss’ reflects a very different woman who is apparently outspoken and contrasts the softer image of woman of that century. Della being called the wisest of all by O Henry stands for love and compassion whereas, Nathalie is being portrayed a pragmatic woman who values the marriage and loyalty to husband the least.
Analysis Of The Main Aspects In Desiree’s Baby By Kate Chopin
In Kate Chopin’s “Desiree’s Baby” is a brief story that was originally published in 1893, under the title of “The Father of Désiree’s Baby,” in Vogue magazine. The story is narrated in a third-person. The main protagonist is Desiree, who was abandoned as a baby and was later found in the ruins which soon she got adopted by the Minister and Madame Valmonde. Everywhere the story, we can see the ideas of what is the story’s purpose which is love, racism, and destructive prejudice within the antebellum French Creole culture in Louisiana during civil war times. The historical setting of Chopin’s story helps develop the themes and characters with a plot twist. The Valmondés, who is portrayed as plantation owners, are established as wealthy and white. Their adoption of Désirée affirms their kindness, despite their economic prosperity. Her adoptive father finds Désirée in the shadow of the stone pillar. This shadow symbolizes the skepticism of her origins. The pillar is also an indication of the wealth and property of the Valmondés, and Désirée’s appearance there introduces her into a world of privilege. “The passion that awoke in him that day, when he saw at the gate, swept along like an avalanche, or like a prairie fire, or like anything that drives headlong over all obstacles.”
Love – Désirée senses the dilemma before she consciously confesses it. This speaks to the theme of Love and Blindness in the story. Because Désirée loves her son, it takes her longer than everyone else to acknowledge the truth. Armand does not understand that because he doesn’t want a child who is not white.
Race – “When the baby is born, Armand is at first delighted. However, the baby’s skin color soon shows signs of the baby being a “quadroon” or “octoroon” — either 1⁄4 or ⅛ African. Armand assumes that because of Désiree’s unknown parentage that she is part black.” When her mother came to visit her and the baby after three months without seeing them. She points out and says that that is not her grandson. Which made désiree upset, but she doesn’t know her background history and ancestors. Which made her uncomfortable after comparing her son to one of the servants tending her son. When she saw the similarities, she went to go tell Armand when he gets home. When Armand arrives back home, Desiree asks him about the baby. He responds that indeed the baby is not white, which means that she is not white either. Desiree points out all her physical features that strongly suggest that she is white, but her angry husband tells her she is as white as their mixed-race slaves.
“Armand,” she called to him, in a voice which must have stabbed him, if he was human. But he did not notice. “Armand,” she said again. Then she rose and tottered towards him. “Armand,” she panted once more, clutching his arm, “look at our child. What does it mean? Tell me.” He coldly but gently loosened her fingers from his arm and thrust the hand away from him. “Tell me what it means!” She cried despairingly. “It means,” he answered lightly, “that the child is not white; it means that you are not white”.
Confront her, but reverts to his cruel nature. This shows Armand’s immediate decision to blame his wife for their child’s appearance, as well as the way that racial issues were connected with such shame — because of the institution of slavery — that no one among the white plantation slave owners could even discuss it
Destructive prejudice – Armand wants to strike out against what he sees as his cruel “fate “of having a black child, and he does this by striking out at his wife. Yet just as Madame Valmondé interpreted her “fate” of finding Désirée as a blessing, Armand’s “fate” is defined by his acceptance of racist and sexist ideas. Désirée is the same person she was before — she has done absolutely nothing wrong or cruel. So Armand seals his fate as cruel by refusing to see beyond race. Meanwhile, Désirée’s shame at being black is so great, that she chooses to throw away her and her child’s life rather than return to her loving mother Armand’s treatment of Désirée shows that he is ashamed, on the one hand, and no longer sees her as a person worthy of respect to the other. He does not lash out at her, but ignores her, as if she has lost her right to sympathy and care. Désirée’s beauty made him not care about her “mysterious past” when he thought that in the past was one of the poor parents that he owns, but when he believes it is, in fact, poverty of mixed racial heritage it becomes overwhelmingly important and shameful to him. Proud, arrogant, and cruel, as his treatment of his slaves has previously shown, Armand confronts Désirée. She denies being of African descent, and she writes to her mother, begging her for help. Madame Valmondé responds that she and the baby should return home to the Valmondé estate. However, her letter does not reach Désirée in time. Scornful and disbelieving of Désirée’s claims, Armand insists that Désirée and the baby leave at once. Désirée walks off with the baby in her arms into the bayou; they are never seen again.
Armand burns all of Désirée’s belongings on the front lawn, including the baby’s cradle. He also burns all of the love letters Désirée sent him during their courtship; however, one letter in the bundle is a letter from Armand’s mother to his father, which Armand reads. In this letter, Armand’s mother reveals that Armand is part black, through her lineage. Désirée’s ancestry is never disclosed. The bonfire symbolizes Armand’s wealth as well as the intersection of classism, racism, and sexism. Armand can afford to destroy Désirée’s possessions, which are the marks of feminine beauty. He doesn’t do this work, but directs his slaves to do it. Both the gifts he gave Désirée and the idea that he can eliminate her from his life by burning them indicate how Armand always viewed Désirée as a possession rather than as a person. Désirée’s reaction shows that she is afraid of having a child who appears black.
Though Chopin sets her story to purposefully touch on the troubling history and continuation of racism in the United States, which is still occurring in current events today. By exposing Armand’s racism and hatred for his wife and child, whom he previously adored so dearly, Chopin reveals how deeply-embedded prejudice and racism are among the privileged, “white” French Creoles. Many modern literary critics observe and admire Chopin’s themes and writing techniques, which incorporate with use of Creole dialect and culture that add that realistic effect to her story. Another aspect of Chopin’s writing: women’s roles and the need for women’s rights and equality which showed when Désirée was in a pitiful, despairing dilemma, once Armand banishes her and the baby.
Critical Response to The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin
“The Story of an Hour” or “The Dream on an Hour” is an American literature written by Kate Chopin in 1948. This story is about a woman named Louise, who endures the tragic death of her recent late husband, Brently. Louise’s life turns for the worst after this incident. She feels trapped and confined within her mind, body and soul. Louise is waiting for this feeling to slowly, but surely creep away. Our souls can feel tucked away in our own body while trying to deal with such news. Regardless of the situation, we need to be and feel content with our mind, body and souls. Our emotional and mental health need to feel free, not caged and confined. Therefore, Louise needs to feel the same way to ensure she will fully cope with this.
Louise Mallard and her husband Brently Mallard is a married couple, living their lives as it comes. Years pass by, Mrs. Mallard’s husband, Brently, had a tragic death of being killed. Mrs. Mallard does not know of this yet because she has a few heart problems. Two of her sisters decided to break the news to her. The immediate family and friends gathered nearby which was a reasonable time for the news to be said. Finally, Louise’s sisters got the courage to tell the tragic news to Mrs. Mallard, the new widow. Of course, Louise was in a state of pure shock and sadness. Immediately, Louise cried and cried her newly formed sorrows of her deceased husband. She wanted to be alone and distance from everyone and everything. She secluded herself and hid herself in her room. As she approached her room and closed the door behind herself, she sat in her comfy armchair, as the open-window breeze comes into the room. There she sat onto the chair with a sad and already exhausted expression on her face. She continued to cry and cry her grief away as the nostalgia of her deceased husband fills her mind. She knows many difficult days are ahead trying to cope with this sudden tragedy of her loved one.
Dealing with grief differs from person to person. One can feel caged, possessed, or lost without their loved one. Maybe Louise did not always love Brently. Maybe they always weren’t on good terms with each other. However, they were each other’s puzzle piece. Now that Brently is gone, Louise’s puzzle piece is missing, as she feels the same way; mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. She already feels caged within …herself. She feels like she is trapped and stuck in a never ending hole of darkness in her body and soul. The need to be free is yet to come.
Louise dreams a sad, yet joyful dream in her sleep. As she is sleeping, she sobs and continues to do so throughout her sleep. In her dream, Louise sees an image of herself when she was young and carefree, with no worry in the world. She also sees a dull stare from an unknown image in the distance coming through the blue sky. As Louie and the image come closer to each other, she quietly whispers, “Free, free, free!”. Louise felt overwhelmed and afraid of what is to come. It was her deceased husband, Brently, all grey and dead. Joy overflowed Louise’s emotions. She opened her arms and waited for Brently to be welcomed into her arms. Louise continues to whisper, “Free! Body and soul! Free!”. However, it is just a dream. She realizes that there are many years to come ahead of her now that Brently will not be here with her anymore. With those years to come have to be lived for Louise herself, not anyone else; as the story said, “There would be no one to live for during those coming years; she would live for herself’. After numerous attempts of Louise’s sisters trying to convince her to open the door, Louise made the effort to come out of her room and go downstairs with her family and friends. A few moments later, someone tries to open the door with a key. Everyone stood still and remained quiet, waiting for who is come from the wooden door. Brently Mallard appears through the doors. Fortunately, Brently was alive and not impacted from the accident. Everyone was in shock, all while Josephine screams because Louise collapsed and passed away from her heart disease. Though, Louise passed away in a state of joy. Louise is no longer caged and confined within her body and soul. She is freed, here and the afterlife.
We cope with happiness and grief differently. However, we tend to cope with grief in a particular way. Kate Chopin created an excellent way to incorporate this into her story. We mentally, emotionally, and spiritually cut all ties within ourselves. We tend to feel lost, caged, and confined within our own bodies and souls. Our lungs become our legitimate cages for our souls. Though, we deserve to move on and let us pass this. We won’t live for the deceased; we live for our own selves. Regardless, we still need to feel and be freed, not confined. The storm shall pass, we too shall overcome this. Let us allow ourselves to live and continue using our lives in a cage-less and joyful way. We too deserve happiness and to feel free within ourselves.
Analysis Of Gender Roles In The Story Of An Hour By Kate Chopin
In the vast world of literature, writers utilize the element of historical context in order to create a better understanding of the text for their audience. In technical terms, historical context is characterized by “the social, religious, economic, and political conditions that existed during a certain time and place”. In the short story, “The Story of An Hour” by Kate Chopin, the story represents society in the year 1894, a period of time where societal norms had involuntarily forced women to live under the impression that they should be less than what they perceive themselves to be. More specifically, women were not given the ability to go outside their private sphere, which consisted of domestic duties. In comparison to today’s time and perspective, this story goes to show how much society has progressed in regards to the plight of women’s rights and their place among the social hierarchy.
Being the main character of the short story, Ms. Mallard is a mere reflection of these gender roles seen in late 1800’s society. During this time, women were raised in an environment that had prompted them to be subordinate to men, whether this be their husbands, fathers, or brothers. Marriage and motherhood was still considered the most important job for women during this time, and this was evident in the story of Louise Mallard. “The Story of An Hour” reflects Chopin’s view of the repressive role that marriage had placed amongst the lives of very many women during that era. This can be seen throughout the plot of the story as the protagonist, Louise Mallard, feels a sense of freedom only when she had received news that her husband, Brently Mallard had died. While her husband is alive, she must live for him, and only through the event of his death does her life become her own once again.
Throughout the short story “The Story of An Hour”, Chopin illustrates Louise Mallard’s realization of her opportunity in disguise. In other words, Ms. Mallard comes to see the doors that will be open to her in the situation that her husband is gone. She states, “When she abandoned herself a little whispered word escaped her slightly parted lips. She said it over and over under her breath: ‘free, free, free!’. From this quote, it is evident that Mrs. Mallard had suppressed her feelings for a while. It seems as though Ms. Mallard was secretive about her feelings regarding her husband’s “death”, as the way she reacted to the situation was not the reaction that she herself had expected to feel. This was because it was not common for women to be independent during the time period reflected upon in the story. Though she was at first shocked, she learned to embrace the feeling of being free, even if it had only lasted for a small moment. This situation in the story not only highlights the desperation of women in the 1800’s to be free from their marriages but also their confinement within societal norms.
Along with that, the story further reflects upon the misogynistic time period by showing how society had downplayed the capabilities of women. In paragraph 10, Chopin writes, “She was beginning to recognize this thing that was approaching to possess her, and she was striving to beat it back with her will – as powerless as her two white slender hands would have been.” By using the phrase “powerless.. Two white slender hands” Chopin, illustrates how women were often perceived as weak individuals. Whether this be mentally, emotionally, or physically, women were not seen as strong beings, which explains the reasoning as to why it was normal for women to be inferior to men in their marriages and other aspects of life, whether this be in the education sector or employment.
Furthermore, the story represents the years surrounding 1894 as it reflected that women had no given rights, opportunities to express their viewpoints, or laws that protected them in times of separation or in cases of abuse from their spouses. This is reflected upon Louise Mallard in paragraph 13, “And yet she had loved him–sometimes. Often she had not”. This goes to show how during her time period, Ms. Mallard had been involved in a marriage that did not consist of genuine, pure love. Instead, it stemmed from a place of obligation and obedience to her husband. Since women in the 1890’s were not given rights to leave their husbands in situations where they didn’t feel comfortable, they often had to stay complacent and accept the cards that they were given. The only way they could get out of it without getting reprimanded by their peers and more importantly those in society, was if their husbands had died to uncontrollable circumstances. Thus, the only means of ‘escape’ for women in these situations was rare. With the ideology that women should be subordinate to their husbands, women were seen as not normal and a disgrace to society if they had disobeyed the guidelines that were set forth upon them.
With this overall explanation of women and their roles in the 1890’s, it makes more sense why Mrs. Mallard approaches her husband’s death the way she did in the story. The event of Mr. Mallards tragic death gave her a means to break free from the chains of her marriage. However this all comes to an end when she comes to the realization that her husband is still alive. In turn, she experiences the pain of knowing that her chances of a free life without the need of validation from a man is gone. As a result, she dies, as she could not bare to live another day knowing that she was so close to freedom, but couldn’t achieve it.
In literature, authors use their personalities, their experiences, and perspectives to establish the purpose to what they write and often times use these key elements to move and inspire their audiences . “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin gives readers the opportunity to be aware and considerate in regards to what women in previous centuries had been treated in comparison to today. In present day society, this story is still applicable to women. However, the numbers would be fairly less as the restrictions amongst marriage and divorce in most countries are not as tight as they were in the past.
Nevertheless, women can still relate to the fact that society still finds a way to disregard their accomplishments and capabilities. Though there has been improvement, women are still seen to be inferior to men in aspects such as jobs. For example, in some job sectors women are still not getting equal pay as men, despite them having the same duties and responsibilities for their career. Though the fights for equal rights for women is not over, feminist beliefs have become more widespread and each day more and more people are doing the steps deemed to order to achieve this goal.
The Theme Of Freedom In The Story Of An Hour By Kate Chopin
In life, people can sometimes feel like they are held back, then once they are free they are filled with joy, only to be brought back down again by not suspecting anything taking it away. In the short story “The Story of an Hour” where Kate Chopin illustrates how freedom can be exciting, but it may not last long for some. In the “Story of an Hour” Kate Chopin presents the theme of unrealized freedom but not until it is too late in the literary devices if characterization and irony.
The characterization of Mrs. Mallard is shown through the freedom she experiences. Now that Mrs. Mallard has freedom in the midst of her husband’s death and now that he is gone “she would live for herself”. Before the supposed death of her husband, Mrs. Mallard may have been held back and kept away from her true character by her husband. Her new freedom would let her live her life, without anyone doing it for her. After the idea of freedom fully set into her mind, she came out of her room and “carried herself unwittingly like a goddess of Victory”. Mrs. Mallard felt like she had finally won her freedom and did not have to worry about what others thought of her. She could now live her life the way she intended and let herself grow into this new aspect of her life. The gift of freedom has changed Mrs. Mallard’s character and outlook on her new life.
In the short story, the sense of freedom helps illustrate the irony of the situation. After being saddened by her husband’s death, she could see “trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life”. Mrs. Mallard is not yet fully aware of the freedom that is around her because she is still too focused on the death of her husband. The situation is ironic because of all the happiness and everything filled with life outside her window, while she has just lost someone in her life. When Mr. Mallard ends up being alive, Mrs. Mallard is at a loss for words and she “died of a heart disease – of joy that kills”. Even though the doctors say she dies of happiness but to the reader that is not true. She had died from realizing her freedom would be gone again, which she only had for a short time. The situation that takes place in the story has a sense of irony that gives way to the idea of freedom.
The gift of freedom has now let Mrs. Mallard expand in her character. With her husband gone, even though she loved him, she did not think it counted with this “self-assertion which she suddenly recognized as the strongest impulse of her being!”. Mrs. Mallard cared deeply for her husband, but she loved freedom more because it was new and exciting, which she never had experienced before. The future freedom she will have will improve her character, but she will still remember the past life she had with her husband. When Mrs. Mallard is up in her room she is “drinking in a very elixir of life through that open window”. Mrs. Mallard takes in all the freedom she finally has in her life and takes in every moment of this. Beyond her window is a new life for herself and dreams of all that she could become when she was not free to do what she wanted. Her character can now grow even more with this new gift of freedom.
Freedom can be what everyone wishes to have, but some may have it taken away not suspecting it. In Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” she uses irony by showing the reader one point of view while the character in the story experiences an entirely different situation and uses characterization to bring out the change in the character once introduced to the idea of freedom. From the story, freedom is shown to be found when one least expects it and savors it while it lasts. Freedom should be experienced by everyone, even if it only lasts a short time.
Topic Of Oppression In Marriage In Kate Chopin’s The Story Of An Hour
Kate Chopin’s ‘The Story of an Hour’ is a psychological exploration of one woman’s response to learning that her husband has just been killed in an accident. The story’s narrative twist is that it goes against the reader’s expectation that the woman, Mrs. Mallard, will be inconsolable. Rather, she has a persistent though of freedom. The woman’s reaction to both learning that her husband has been killed, and then later finding out he is actually alive, is therefore evidence of the oppression she endured throughout her marriage. As a result, the meaning of the text becomes clear that Mrs. Mallard was stifled throughout her marriage, and that the institution of marriage itself is responsible for her oppression.
The story’s structure follows the actions and thoughts of Mrs. Mallard, with minimal dialogue. As such, the third person descriptions provide a psychological account of Mrs. Mallard’s thoughts and behaviors. The story begins with Mrs. Mallard learning of the accident and weeping ‘with sudden, wild abandonment’, which indicates that Mrs. Mallard is not simply heartless nor uncaring. There are several indications that Mrs. Mallard cared for her husband: she thinks about how her husband had ‘kind, tender hands’ when thinking about the viewing that will occur, and that ‘she had loved him – sometimes’, although this is later followed with, ‘Often she had not’. These descriptions highlight how their relationship, at the very least, was not overly abusive or hostile. Her husband is not described in regard to how oppressive her husband must have been, but rather indications of the opposite. Instead, what seems to be apparent is that Mrs. Mallard was not passionate about her husband, and even though there were moments of love, this was not a pervasive characteristic about their relationship.
By focusing on how her husband was essentially kind to her, Chopin is showing how the specific relationship between the two is what ultimately oppressed Mrs. Mallard, as if had her husband been a different man, she would have had a greater sense of loss; rather, the marriage between them can be understood as fairly typical and relatable by many other couples. This indicates how the institution of marriage, and not her specific husband, is responsible for her sense of being stifled.
Before Mrs. Mallard has the realization that she is free, Chopin uses descriptive imagery to indicate her internal state. As Mrs. Mallard sits in her room, she sees the trees as being ‘aquiver with the new spring life’. She then begins to feel a force run through her, ‘this thing that was approaching to possess her’, which she recognizes soon after as the intense joy of freedom. This causes her to say out loud, ‘Free! Body and soul free!’ Through the way this realization unfolds, Chopin is showing how her feelings are not the result of careful deliberation or that her emotional reaction was a choice; rather, this is a feeling that comes over her and overwhelms her, to the point where she is genuinely surprised at how she feels.
What Chopin is showing us is that Mrs. Mallard had simply come to accept her fate, as a prisoner might simply accept a lifelong sentence. Because Mrs. Mallard is overwhelmed by her newfound freedom shows us how she had simply accepted her fate of being a married woman, without questioning whether she even had a choice to not be married. This shows how many viewed the institution of marriage at the time: that it was a lifelong choice no matter what, even if it resulted in one or both persons being unhappy. Mrs. Mallard reacts in the same way a prisoner might view unexpected freedom.
Once Mrs. Mallard realizes her freedom, she begins fantasizing about ‘Spring days, and summer days, and all sorts of days that would be her own’. By using this language, Chopin is revealing that Mrs. Mallard previously viewed all of her days as belonging to either her husband, or the marriage itself. She had no free time for herself, as keeping her marriage going despite not being deeply in love with her husband was the only thing that mattered. This causes Mrs. Mallard to suddenly become excited, and feel as though she has been reborn. Even though her husband was not overtly cruel and had cared for her, the relationship itself was stifling for Mrs. Mallard, who had no choice but to go along with the marriage because that is what society expects. With her husband’s sudden death, she is freed from this societal obligation, and begins to feel renewed.
The narrative twist of the story’s ending is when she realizes that a mistake has been made, and her husband is actually alive. When she sees him at the bottom of the stairs, she presumably has a heart attack. Although the doctors diagnose this as a ‘joy that kills’, the reader realizes that the opposite has occurred: that her joy was caused by identifying a new sense of freedom independent of marriage, and when this is taken away from her, she actually fears once again becoming imprisoned by this societal institution.
This realization is too much for her, as she had been given a taste of freedom, and suddenly had that freedom ripped away. Although she had previously lived under this oppressive system, she did not realize how oppressed and stifled she truly felt. Once this realization became known to her, the thought of going back to this marriage was simply too much for her to bear. Thus, the story highlights how the institution of marriage was ultimately stifling, and ultimately caused more suffering than good.
Analysis Of Plot And Character Improvement In ‘The Story Of An Hour’
In spite of the fact that it is hard to be against the general public’s convictions, writer Kate Chopin beats that to bring perusers a quality intriguing writing. Using traditions of story stories like character improvement, plot control, and incongruity further bolstering her good fortune, she draws the peruser into the universe of feelings that the general public would laugh at. Kate Chopin shows her incredible abstract ability in ‘The Story of an Hour’ by interconnecting the plot and character advancement, with her utilization of captivating vocabulary and account incongruity.
Chopin gloriously incorporates two traditions of record fiction, plot and character improvement. The plot of a story is the grouping of occasions in a story and their association with one another as they advance and normally resolve a contention. In the plot of account stories there is an article, ascend to activity, peak, and a tumble from activity. The character improvement is the other thing that permits Chopin compose this intriguing story. Character is the thing that stays with you after you have wrapped up a story. The activities in the plot are performed by the characters in the story. Characters get something going or produce an impact. Chopin uses character advancement to strengthen the plot so much that perusers can feel the feelings very intently. In ‘The Story of an Hour’ both of these parts are progressively interconnected to each other.
The plot basically happens in the hero, Mrs. Mallard’s brain, which makes it pivotal for perusers to comprehend her identity and where her considerations originate from. She is depicted as a delicate lady who endures some heart inconvenience. This is critical to the plot as it clarifies why her sister practiced alert to break the news to her. Mrs. Mallard is additionally depicted as being ‘youthful, with a reasonable, quiet face, whose lines bespoke suppression and even a specific quality’. This is an essential snippet of data as it clarifies why she laments her better half’s demise just quickly. In straightforward words, constraint implies the activity or procedure of smothering an idea or want in oneself so it stays oblivious.
Mrs. Mallard’s marriage was limiting as it were that she never could convey what needs be uninhibitedly aside from in her oblivious. We can see that Mrs. Mallard turns out to be very confounded on hearing the news; she opposes her recently procured opportunity as it is her trademark attribute of being bashful and frail and weak. As she acknowledges the sentiment of freedom, she begins considering herself a ‘goddess of Victory’. A goddess implies a lady who is so lovely, splendid, and healthy that she is dislike some other ladies on Earth and in this manner has a type of remarkable profound component that while it can’t be firmly characterized it is plainly present. Mrs. Mallard starts to feel lovely and glad as she wins the skirmish of wills following quite a while of persecution in her marriage. She first shows off her newly discovered magnificence and quality when she gives her sister access to see the ‘triumph in her eyes’.
The previously mentioned mix of character and plot improvement not exclusively to the hero, Mrs. Mallard, yet in addition to Mr. Brently Mallard. The main impression we get into Mr. Mallard’s character is from this piece of the content: ‘Chopin states ‘There would be no ground-breaking will bowing hers in that visually impaired determination with which people trust they have a directly to force a private will upon an individual animal. A benevolent expectation or a barbarous goal influenced the demonstration to appear to be no less a wrongdoing… ‘. In any case, considerably more is revealed through the section. He was depicted as, rather than Mrs. Mallard, ground-breaking and unaware of how he was tormenting his better half. As the other minor characters don’t assume a noteworthy job, they are left to the peruser’s creative energy.
The Use Of Setting In The Story Of An Hour By Kate Chopin
“The Story of an Hour” is a short story by Kate Chopin. The use of setting will be easier because the reader can associate these facts with some human behaviours or some human emotions. Also, Chopin uses these setting facts in her story. In this story, Kate Chopin writes about, the story of a woman – Mrs. Mallard – whose husband dies because of a train accident but at the end of the story Mrs. Mallard learns that he is alive. Also, Chopin claims, how Mrs. Mallard reacts to this situation within an hour, what she recognises about herself and what she wants from her life. In this story, Chopin points out some situations and feelings to use the setting facts. In this essay, I will analyse the use of setting and what it represents in Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour”.
First of all, in this story, Chopin uses lots of setting items to show the reader what will happen next. In the first place, this story contains some natural elements of setting. For example, rainy weather in the story is to show the reader Mrs. Mallard’s sadness about her husband’s death. After Mrs. Mallard recognises she is free, the weather conditions change in a good way, which is mentioned in the story with this sentence: “There were patches of blue sky showing here and there through the clouds had met and piled one above the other in the west facing window” In this sentence, Chopin tries to emphasise the reader that Mrs.
Mallard begins to recognise that she is free from her husband and her life, she does not have to think about society and now she can do whatever she wants. Moreover, “patches of blue sky” are there but, behind the rain clouds which means, sadness of Mrs. Mallard is past partially recognises freedom will come and this reconstitution brings her happiness. Besides, “patches of blue sky”is used for her hopes. The hopes that comes to Mrs. Mallard’s mind and she begins to think about them.
That demonstrates to the reader the excitement which is flares up inside Mrs. Mallard. Also, another item is used to remark “in the west facing her window” to show the reader, the improvement of Mrs. Mallard’s wisdom. The author claims with this phrase that, Mrs. Mallard can think about feminism and women rights. Chopin claims that Mrs. Mallard does not have to comply to her husband. Also, “in the west facing her window” points out freedom. That means, she can decide what she will do in the future and she does not ask anyone’s opinions about this.
However, “west” term is also used for death because the sun sets from the west and the sun rises from the east on the earth. In a word, her past life dies but her future life is going to begin that day when she learns her husband’s death. When she recognises benefits of the freedom and when she starts to recognise that she is a bit afraid of the freedom the weather conditions go from bad to worse. To suggest this, Chopin writes: “creeping out of the sky, reaching toward the sounds, the scents, the colour that filled the air.” Weather takes shape according to Mrs. Mallard’s feelings about her husband’s death and her new life.
Mrs. Mallard is afraid of taking consequences of her behaviours because she does not have to take consequences before. With these quotations the reader can understand that Mrs. Mallard wants to be free, but she is not ready to be free because Mrs. Mallard thinks about drawbacks of freedom. When Mrs. Mallard starts to think about disadvantages of freedom, weather conditions go to worse in this story. Moreover, Mrs. Mallard can only see the spring weather through the window of her room. Alongside these quotes Chopin emphasises that Mrs. Mallard wants to stay her home and her room which is her safe area in the story but she also, wants to discover beauties of the world which she cannot discover with her husband. To point out Mrs Mallard’s dilemma about freedom Chopin writes these quotes. Finally, birds are tweeting Mrs. Mallard hears these birds from outside the window inside her room evidences that the spring is coming and good things will be happened to Mrs. Mallard’s future life in the story. Rewrite.
Secondly, Chopin emphasises some setting elements for Mrs. Mallard’s house in this short story. Setting elements for the house asserts the contrast of freedom idea. However, it also demonstrates Mrs. Mallard’s safe area, in this story. For example, when Mrs. Mallard is informed about her husband’s death she runs and hides into her room and also, she does not go out from there; furthermore, she recognises the freedom idea, comforts herself, and cries in that place. In a word, she is defenseless there, and she can think whatever she wants and do whatever she wants.
Mrs. Mallard’s room stands for a castle for Mrs. Mallard in this story because castles have security and no one can go inside the castle without any permission. Also, the room stands for a prison in this story somehow because, she can only see the spring on her window and she cannot reach spring and the freedom itself, which is mentioned in the story with these terms; “a comfortable and roomy armchair” which is “facing the window”.
When Mrs. Mallard sees that armchair and sits that she feels comfortable and safe and she begins to think about her future and freedom. However, she does not want to leave the comfortable room and armchair. Armchair stands for safeness in the story. Also, in front of the armchair there is a window which is associated with rails in this story because, if the room associates with a prison, the window in Mrs. Mallard’s room should associate with rails. Mrs. Mallard only thinks about freedom in this story and she cannot reach freedom but she can only look outside and dream about it. She behaves like a prisoner. Finally, the door states that walls to protect Mrs. Mallard from public, such as her sister Josephine and one of her husband’s friend Richard. They cannot reach her without her permission. In a word, door stands for her mind in a way. Society cannot reach her mind without her permission. Also, the door stands for entrance of the safe and comfortable area for Mrs. Mallard.
In conclusion, there are some elements that emphasises characters and characters’ feelings, emotions and behaviours in this story. There are two aspects of elements of the setting. These are natural elements and elements of setting for Mr. Mallard’s house. I have analysed, what Chopin points out and what she wants to maintain to use of these elements of settings and also, how it affects the story.
The Topic Of Gender In Kate Chopin’s The Story Of An Hour
In Kate Chopin’s short story titled “The Story of an Hour”, Mrs. Mallard, the main character is shocked at the news that her husband had apparently died. Throughout the story it is revealed that Mrs. Mallard takes the news of her husband’s apparent death in a joyful matter, she sees this news as a beginning to a new life that no longer contains repression. Mrs. Mallard’s reaction to her husbands supposed death represents a symbol of liberty, she is finally free of marriage and is now an independent woman in the late nineteenth century. Later on, she is informed that her husband, Brently Mallard is alive. As a result of this news, Mrs. Mallard passes away due to a “joy that kills”. In this story, Chopin expresses a theme of female liberation and feminism. Although this story takes place in the nineteenth century, the concept of female liberation and feminism that Chopin has emphasized in her work is still apparent today, especially because sexism in society and marriages still occurs.
To begin with, Chopin’s story takes place in the nineteenth century, a time when gender discrimination against women was occurring. Mrs. Mallard seemed to have been a housewife to her husband Brently Mallard, which in current times, the role of being a “housewife” is not acceptable in society, yet it still exists in some relationships. The belief of sexist gender roles such as “all husbands should head households” will influence a marriage by negatively impacting quality of a relationship. Marital issues relating to sexism disappointingly still occur today, oftentimes this can leave a woman feeling unsatisfied with their marriage, which is why Mrs. Mallard was so gleeful to hear the news of her husband passing away.
Not only does “The Story of an Hour” tell the entertaining story of Mrs. Mallard’s reaction to her husbands supposed death, but it also reveals Chopin’s feministic views on marriage and gender. Chopin has been known to emphasize feminism in her other works of literature. According to Anca-Luminita Iancu, in her article “Teaching Kate Chopin’s Short Fiction” she explains that “Chopin was mainly known as a regional writer or local colorist…she was mostly interested in the condition and needs of women, discussing such avant-garde subjects as the constraints of marriage, divorce, adultery, and suicide”. It is evident that Chopin had a drive for female empowerment, in fact, Chopin covered the topic of marriage through her character Mrs. Mallard. Mrs. Mallard ends up feeling a sense of freedom once she hears the new of her husband’s passing in “The Story of an Hour”. This evidently reveals Chopin’s views on marriage, showing that at times, marriage can make a woman feel repressed from liberation.
Chopin was well aware of how women were treated and viewed as during her time; she was also aware that the issues women were facing at the time were not easy to solve. Especially in a society where men were in charge of making the rules and women were expected to devote their time to their husband and raising their children while also being considered their husband’s property. It is noted that “The Story of an Hour” took place during a time century when women were not treated with equality. Chopin touches on how women were seen as their husband’s property by showing the strong emotion of freedom Mrs. Mallard had felt once hearing her husband had died.
In addition, Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” without a doubt correlates to the values of feminism that are relevant today. The purpose of feminism is to shine light on the social issues that women deal with and how society can help combat problems such as gender discrimination and gender inequality. Mrs. Mallard situation in the story illustrates a theme of female liberation by emphasizing on the ideology that women have the right to feel liberated, especially in a marriage, which in Mrs. Mallard’s situation had her feeling held back at that time. As time has progressed, the views of feminism have also advanced.
According to Anne E. Ward, author of the article “Sex and the me Decade”, “the early twentieth century saw a boom in marital advice manuals attributed to a range of causes including women’s changing roles in society, the liberation of divorce laws growing acceptance of pre-marital sex”. The values of a feminist that were relevant throughout history are still pertinent today because it helped shaped the definition of being a feminist today. For example, in Bridget Murray Law’s article “What Feminism means today”, she interviewed Kate Richmond, PhD on the topic of feminism and Richmond responded saying “We should value the groundwork the second-wave (’60s and ’70s) feminists laid for us and also become innovative and flexible to move in a direction that’s helpful for all women, regardless of race, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation and so forth”. This response from Richmond corresponds to the agenda feminist are pushing today.
Overall, it is evident that at sometimes life can imitate art, which in the case of Chopin’s story, it did. The topics of feminism, sexism, and marriage that were covered in Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” are still relevant today. Feminism is something that has changed as time has passed, but the basis of feminism today is still based off the issue of sexism which was vital during the time this story took place. The issue of sexism in marriages is a problem that was very normal during the time Chopin’s story took place, this dilemma is still occurring today, causing women to support the ideology of feminism.
- Beam, Christopher, et al. “Gender Differences in the Structure of Marital Quality.” Behavior Genetics, vol. 48, no. 3, May 2018, EBSCOhost, doi:10.1007/s10519-018-9892-4.
- Iancu, Anca-Luminita. Teaching Kate Chopin’s Short Fiction. East-West Cultural Passage, no. 2, Editura Universitatii LUCIAN BLAGA din Sibiu, 2015, www.ceeol.com/search/article-detail?id=522060.
- Law, Bridget. “What Feminism means today”. American Psychological Association, www.apa.org/gradpsych/2006/09/feminism
- Seyersted, Per. An excerpt from Kate Chopin: A Critical Biography. American Literary Realism, vol. 3, no. 2, University of Illinois Press, 1970, www.jstor.org/stable/27747703.
- Vashisth, Akanksha., and Avinash Kumar. “Sex and the Me Decade: Sex and Dating Advice Literature of the 1970s.” Journal of Human Behavior in the Environment, vol. 24 issue 3, EBSCOhost, doi:10.1353/wsq.2015.0063.
- Ward, Anna. “Sex and the Me Decade: Sex and Dating Advice Literature of the 1970s.” Women’s Studies Quarterly, vol. 43, no. 3/4, 2015, EBSCOhost, doi:10.1353/wsq.2015.0063. p. 122