English Short Story Essay

1232 words - 5 pages

A Married Woman’s Complex
In 2012, the University of Chicago conducted a “well being” study and it was found that 97% of married people are “happily married”. If this study were conducted a century ago, 97% probably would have reported being unhappy in their marriage, the majority being women. These dutiful wives and repressed mothers were not allowed any personal or intellectual freedom. These oppressed, married women are the types of characters feminist author, Kate Chopin, revels in. During the production of “Kate Chopin: A Re-Awakening” at Emory University, Elizabeth Fox-Genovese said Chopin was “nonetheless a woman who took women extremely seriously, she never doubted women’s ability ...view middle of the document...

In the beginning of the story, Chopin notes that Mrs. Mallard has a heart problem, which results in such an ironic ending since her heart has both physical and emotional problems. Within a few moments of learning of Brently’s death, Louisa’s devastated heart became filled with a “monstrous joy” (170). She imagined a future that belonged solely to her with no one to live for and cater to. Louisa never specifically stated how Brently oppressed her, in fact, she notes that “a kind intention or a cruel intention made the act seem no less a crime” (170). Mr. Mallard seemed to be a providing, loving, and caring husband but that did not stop Mrs. Mallard from feeling that oppression and obligation towards him as his wife. Fully submersing herself into this liberated impulse resulted in her death because she was not ready to be so quickly stripped of her newfound freedom.
In “The Storm”, readers see two opposite perspectives from Calixta and Clarisse. Both are devoted wives and mothers, yet have hidden, conflicted desires. The story begins with a thoughtful Bobinôt and Bibi buying a can of shrimp for Calixta during a storm. They are not too concerned about Calixta since she has Sylvie to accompany her at home; little do they know, but Sylvie is not the only person who will be keeping Calixta company. Chopin describes Calixta as “a little fuller figure than five years before when she married; but she had lost nothing of her vivacity” (97). She was so preoccupied sewing at home that she did not see the storm that is Alcée Laballière riding into her gate. Alcée comes into her room and as the strength of the storm outside begins to increase, so does the energy of the storm inside between Alcée and Calixta. Chopin’s language suddenly becomes very sexual and passionate. It is clear that the two lovers cannot resist the burning desires they have inside for each other. She writes, “the contact of her body had aroused a desire for her flesh… a drowsy gleam that unconsciously betrayed a sensuous desire… her firm, elastic flesh that was knowing for the first time its birthright” (98). The readers begin to learn of their previous relationship when Calixta was still a virgin before she married Bobinôt. Alcée’s last name, Laballière, suggests some type of sophistication and status whereas Calixta is from the South with a different accent. Marriage between those of different statuses was not highly looked upon but the readers realize this lightning and rising storm of raw emotion between the two cannot be ignored.
After Alcée leaves, Bobinôt and Bibi conveniently arrive with...

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