Monstrous Joy: Patriarchal Marriage In The Story Of An Hour

Great Essays
Melissa Chenard
English 2050
Professor Dyen
Essay 1

Monstrous Joy: Patriarchal Marriage Demonstrated Through “Story of an Hour”

Envision a world where a loved one receives word that their significant other is dead. What is the proper way for them to react? Should they react solemnly and grieve, or should their reaction be more of a celebration? Kate Chopin’s “Story of an Hour (1894)” describes a woman living in the shadow of her husband. When she receives word that her husband has died she reacts in a way that is not expected or socially acceptable for a woman of her stature. In Kate Chopin’s “Story of an Hour,” Mrs. Mallard is possessed by her husband; this demonstrates how patriarchal marriages strip women of their individuality.
Characterized
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In 1894, when “Story of an Hour” was written, society consisted much of arranged marriages. Parents arranged a marriage for their daughter in exchange for money or land. It is assumed that this was an arranged marriage due to the statement: “And yet she loved him ---sometimes. Often she had not.” Mrs. Mallard needed to act a particular way, so she could be considered wife material. Women needed to be submissive. When Mrs. Mallard receives the news of her husband’s death she could “fearfully” feel happiness creepy toward her. This is not ideological because when someone dies, especially your spouse, you should be filled with sadness not “monstrous joy.” Mrs. Mallard needed to act submissively towards her husband. Marriage prevented her from being …show more content…
Mallard’s reflections on marriage and her state of mind when she receives the news about her husband’s death. Her joy is apparent, until it is discovered Brently Mallard is alive. Brently Mallard knocks at the door, he was not in the train accident that everyone that he had died in. When it is discovered he is alive, Louise’s sister screams as Richard, Mr. Mallard’s friend tries to block Mrs. Mallard from the sight of his wife. “When the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease---of the joy that kills.” At the end of the story, her story is rewritten by doctors. Doctors in the late 1800s, early 1900s were all men. The doctors rewriting Mrs. Mallard’s story demonstrates how patriarchy will always use marriage to keep denying women of their

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