Paralysis And Repression Of Two Women In The Story Of An Hour By Kate Chopin

Superior Essays
This essay attempts to compare the paralysis and repression of two women with different social statuses in male-domineered societies. The first of which is Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour”, a short story which takes place in the late 19th century America and follows a repressed Mrs. Mallard who, upon being falsely informed of her husband’s death, sets out to gain a sense of self-assertion. Her short period of rejoice – and her life – are, however, put to an end when her husband returns. The second is “Eveline”, one of the fifteen stories written in the 20th century by James Joyce under the heading Dubliners. “Eveline” is about a young woman named Eveline who cannot decide whether to continue living in patriarchal Dublin, or to escape with …show more content…
In “The Story of an Hour”, Mrs. Mallard’s sudden death when she finds her husband at the door is misinterpreted by her doctors: “they said that she had died of heart disease – of joy that kills” (9). The use of an omniscient narrator has been used to channel the view and expectations of the patriarchal society as well. For instance, Wang points out that, “Louise lives as Mrs. Mallard in life and dies as Brently Mallard’s wife, as she is called Mrs. Mallard in the very first sentence of the story and “his wife” (8) at the very end of the story. The only time when she wins her own name back is the moment when she has achieved her “self-assertion which she [has] suddenly recognized as the strongest impulse of her being” (8), and this is the time she has gained her self-identity”. Eveline also seems to be weighed down by the expectations of others as she wonders how her co-workers would react once they learned of her planned …show more content…
Mallard and Eveline cannot express themselves freely. It can be argued that both stories are written from a 3rd person perspective with the intention to state the fact that neither protagonist is able to express her own feelings in her own words. Indeed, Eveline does not even talk in the story. It is as if these characters need a channel to express what is going on in their minds for they have no voice and lack the freedom of speech. Eveline demonstrates this again in her indecisiveness, deserting Frank, her lover, and throwing away her ticket to freedom looking “passive, like a helpless animal” (859). Mrs. Mallard displays her repression when she sinks into her armchair, “pressed down by a physical exhaustion that haunted her body and seemed to reach into her soul” (6). Wang says that it appears to be the result of Mrs. Mallard’s long term self-control or restraint in the male dominated society in addition to Mr. Mallard’s abrupt death.

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