“The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin
Death can have different meanings to a person. Sometimes people get joy from it and most of the times they do not. Most widows would respond in a sorrowful way towards their husband’s death, but Louise responded in a untroubled mannered. The main character gets overjoyed from her husband’s death because she believed she gained the freedom that she had lost with her husband. The protagonist believes she has no freedom; she is enslaved by her husband; the anecdote opens with Louise believing she is a free woman and believing she has a new start to her new life. In the Story of an Hour, it demonstrates a patriarchal society where male dominance is so something ordinary, where women are looked upon as weak and frail without a male authority.
In “The Story of an Hour,” we discover that Mrs. Mallard has problems with her heart, so when her husband dies, her family had to be extra careful into breaking the news of her husband’s death; that he has been killed in a railroad accident. She (Louise) at first feels numb and in total shock at first, and wants to be completely alone in order to process her loss. Once Louise is alone, she notices something she have not seen in a long time, she notices the alluring, attractive beauty nature outside her window, after that moment to herself she begins to feel optimistic about life. She begins to think about all the good time to herself she will now have, now that her husband is dead. Louise whispers to herself, “Free! Body and soul free!” as she knows she will regret it all once she sees her husband’s dead body at the funeral; although there is no evidence in the text that her husband was rude or abusive towards her. Louise seems unsure of what she feels towards her husband, but it was not love, though at the end of the story, she seems to be looking forwards to her future as a widow, but as she leaves her room, Brently Mallard opens the door and walks inside her home. She breaks down the news to her and tells her that there was a mistake, and that he husband was not on the train. Louise then dies from the disturbance, and unexpectedly, it is assumed that she died of “the joy that kills” the people that were there assumed she was so delighted to see her husband alive that she died of the shock.
But in reality, she died from the shock to learn that the future that she mused was just a helpless dream, “all sort of days that would be her own,” will now be difficult. A critical feminist perspective of this short story would center on the expectations placed upon women by the establishment of marriage, this is demonstrated in the story “There would be no one to live for during those coming years; she would live for herself. There would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow- creature. A kind intention or a cruel intention made… moment of illumination”. This is a great example of the expectations of a late 19th century marriage. That the husband had to be the one “to Impose his will” towards its wife. When Louise believes that “A kind intention or a cruel intention made the act seem no lessa crime,” we the readers see that the actual problem is not with the people but with her marriage. Even though her husband was mean nor a bad husband, he was kind to her and had all the right intentions, he the husband still had all the power in the relationship because man have more power and are controlled of everything in the women’s life.
Therefore, louise was not a free woman, she felt worthless. She would always do as he said; she must “live for” his husband rather than for herself. A feminist perspective shows how marriages do not allow women to feel any perception of freedom. There is inequality between both genders to the cutting edge is one of the main desires of a feminist literary disapproval. A main critical feminist viewpoint of this short story focuses on women abuse back in the 19th century, and especially in marriages back then. During that period of time, women were “owned by their husbands or male figure” and had little to no freedom over their live. Chopin tells us the tragedy of this situation, through a devoted observation of the main character as well as the expressive details of the short story. One sign of the main character’s abuse is in the beginning sentence where she is named “Mrs. Mallard”. Her husband is given a first name, but the main character is just not revealed until much later in the story; she is only known as the wife of Brently Mallard. Then much later as she is handling the “death” of her husband, Louise describes her marriage life if it was a crime. “Powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature.” Louise admits to herself that her husband was not a bad man nor a bad husband, but just the fact that she had a controlling husband that had her all controlled with no self-freedom, she felt abused. She feels deprived from her life; lifeless.
The feminist perspective that is shown in The Story of an Hour, is that the sensation of freedom that Louise did not have but experience after she was told that her husband was killed in a train accident, For 60 minutes Louise praised the wonder of being unchained from a commanding husband. The author’s purpose is to make women seem powerful after their husband’s deaths. Kate Chopin the author of the anecdote is going against society norms after losing their significant other. Characters in the anecdote demonstrate how people viewed Louise after her husband’s death. It reveals how society views widows as helpless and weak individuals; without a male figure dominance in their lives; although that is not how Louise felt.
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