Feminist Themes In The Story Of An Hour By Kate Chopin

Decent Essays
Kate Chopin is an American author famous for her short stories and novels. Chopin was a woman ahead of her time. She sparked controversy with the way she portrayed women and marriage in several of her works, such as “The Awakening”, “The Storm” and “The Story of an Hour”. She was an independent thinker who fought, with words, for individuality among women. Many say that she laid the foundation for feminism. According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, feminism is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. “There was a revival of interest in Chopin in the late 20th century because her concerns about the freedom of women foreshadowed later feminist literary themes” (“Kate Chopin”). “The Story of an Hour”, with …show more content…
Kate Chopin is from the Victorian Era. Men dominated society in the Victorian Era. The most important thing a woman could do was get married. Even then, getting married was not really a choice, it was as if it were a necessity for survival. “Barred by law and custom from entering trades and professions by which they could support themselves, and restricted in the possession of property, woman had only one means of livelihood, that of marriage” (Kent 86). Once a woman got married, it was as if her rights, property, and even identity failed to exist. She became whatever her husband wanted her to be. Maybe that is why Kate Chopin stepped outside the boundaries of what most authors were writing during that time; to make a statement for women …show more content…
I believe her use of symbolism, diction, and theme is more than enough textual evidence to support the claim that she was feminist before feminism had even come about. She used the symbol of an open window to represent Mrs. Mallard’s new life. She used the word free repetitively in one line to show the unhappiness that may have been present in the marriage. The whole underlying theme of the story was feministic. The woman was tired of being tied down by the rules society had for marriage, and so in my opinion, no, it was not so wrong that she feel free and a bit relieved when she realizes her husband had died. Similar to “The Story of an Hour”, “The Awakening” and “The Storm” crossed the boundaries society had set. Chopin revolutionized the way women were portrayed in writing with her exceptional use of a variety of symbols, metaphors, and feministic

Related Documents

  • Decent Essays

    They weren't treated equally to men. Donald Trump may say that women in the 1800s weren’t treated badly however, women couldn’t marry freely, couldn’t own property or had the right to vote. Women were second-class citizens. Women were expected to restrict their sphere of interest to the home and the family. Women were not encouraged to obtain a real education or pursue a professional career.…

    • 941 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Xuemei describes “Louise Mallard was among that kind of women who were different from the traditional ones such as her sister. Facing the unexpectedly bad news, she was of course sad, however at the same time she felt free, body and soul free. Her sister Josephine reminded us of her conventional thought that women should attach themselves to their husbands” (167). To her loved ones, Louise Mallard’s death was a depressing case of irony as was her independence to herself. However, in death she managed to find a way to escape her bondage and begin life anew, free from the clutches of 19th century societal…

    • 1437 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    This indicates that the boundaries of marriage were restricting for her, and she felt more fulfilled and content stepping outside of those boundaries. Mrs. Mallard, too, felt restricted by marriage; she did not have an affair, but when she learned of her husband’s death, she was filled with joy and a sense of freedom from marriage. One major difference of these two characters is that Calixta actively breaks her marital vows to find happiness, whereas Mrs. Mallard does not realize she is unhappy until her husband dies. Calixta is very hands-on in seeking happiness; whereas, Mrs. Mallard discovers it by accident. In these stories, the plot is significantly different, but the overall theme is similar in that women are important individuals and they should be able to live a happy and free life.…

    • 1033 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The short story “The Story of an Hour” has aspects that are compelling and interesting as readers find out that Mrs. Mallard is overjoyed by her husband’s death. Readers understand and emphasize with Mrs. Mallard emotions whether than condemn her, because we see she is oppressed by her husband. After Mrs. Mallard finds out her husband has died she anticipates her new life and the possibilities of her future as a “free” woman. The main theme of the story is a woman’s role in a marriage and self-identity. Mrs. Mallard is identified as a wife instead of a person, like most women during this time period, so when she discovered her husband is dead and no longer is controlled by him she becomes free.…

    • 619 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    The pain that she couldn’t get freedom was so hurt that we can see how she treasured her own rights as a woman. That could reflect the spirit of feminist and be an evidence that Kate Chopin was a feminist author who tried to expose the will of women to the male-dominated society. Last, at the beginning of the story, the author used “Mrs.Mallard” to represent the main character. After describing the series of emotions she had, she kept whispering “Free! Body and soul free!” Then, her name became Louise.…

    • 1044 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Forbidden Freedom In history, human rights have always been a problem, and yet to this day, it still remains. Specifically, in the past, women had adapted to live in a suppressed environment, solely because their limited rights have never allowed them to cross a certain boundary. In fact, the United States, foremost in the race of modernization in the world, enabled women to vote in 1920; however, prior to that, individualism, freedom, and equality did not exist in the dictionary for women. Kate Chopin, the author of “The Story of an Hour” (1849), shows how Mrs Mallard, thinking that she is a widow, transforms her psychology and pursues freedom, a feeling that was very distant from her when her husband was “alive.” Likewise, Susan Glaspell,…

    • 1992 Words
    • 8 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    I think Kate Chopin would be proud and relieved at how far we came throughout the century and to see us using her story as a prime example of how most women must have felt during those times. In the story, it shows how Richards and Josephine saw Mrs. Mallard as a frail and fragile woman but it is proven wrong as she sees’ her husband’s death as an opportunity for a new life of freedom to herself. One of the main lessons is ‘things are not always as they seem,’ as expressed in the story when Kate Chopin used symbolism and irony to show the unhappiness women felt due to the oppressive gender roles they had to go through in the 1890’s…

    • 1121 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    19th Century Woman

    • 1140 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Similar to Fanny Fern, Dickinson expresses a sadness when writing about becoming a wife. In the tenth line she writes “Birthed- Bridalled- Shrouded-” (page 1666). She is explaining her life as a women after becoming a wife is hidden or nonexistent. She also writes “Betrothed, without the swoon” (page 1666) which leads me to believe that this was a fixed marriage, that she didn’t choose this for herself. During this time arranged marriages were very popular and often times women settled for husbands just so they wouldn’t be ridiculed by society.…

    • 1140 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Kate Chopin is the founding mother of the new wave of brave feminist movements in writing. Chopin used her writings in stories such as The Story of an Hour to incorporate her feelings on the modern day woman’s role in society at the time. In this short story, not only does Chopin use her own thoughts and experiences through the main character, but she also uses that same verbal irony she is oh so famous for incorporating into her stories.…

    • 575 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Decent Essays
  • Decent Essays

    Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Kate Chopin were known for being feminist writers. The famous stories, “The Yellow-Wallpaper” written by Gilman and “The Story of an Hour” written by Chopin, both have great meaning and consist of many symbols representing freedom. Chopin writes this specific story to represent freedom through the death of a husband. In her story, the woman believes her husband has died and although she is saddened by the terrible news, she feels “free”. This story shows the dominance husbands have towards their wives and how these women don't have independence.…

    • 1123 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Decent Essays