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Nurse Essay

2010 words - 9 pages

Common Themes Found in Kate Chopin's Short Stories
Kimberley J. Dorsey
Stevenson University
English 152, Writing About Literature
Charlotte Wulf
November 14, 2010

Many of Kate Chopin’s short stories share the common themes of female oppression. The females in her stories are trying to find a way to escape their oppression and have a sense freedom and individuality. They either commit adultery or fantasize about it as a way to explore their feminine sexuality and obtain a sense of freedom.

Common Themes Found in Kate Chopin's Short Stories
Kate Chopin, an ...view middle of the document...

In some way the protagonist is finding a way to exult their freedom. The recurring themes are seen in the following short stories:
1. “The Story of an Hour”
2. “The Storm”
3. “A Respectable Women”
4. “A Shameful Affair”
“The Story of an Hour”
“The Story of an Hour,” hints that Mrs. Mallard’s husband, typical of her day, dominated his wife. The story revolved around what went on in Mrs. Mallard’s head when she learns of her husband’s death. Mrs. Mallard is the protagonist in the story, who feels over powered and oppressed by her husband. She is told while on a trip, her husband, Brently Mallard has been killed. The story is about the sense of freedom enjoyed by a woman during the hour she mistakenly thinks she is a widow, until she discovers that her husband is still alive.
Mrs. Mallard is a young married woman with heart trouble, that’s why her relatives want to break the news to her as gently as possible. After hearing the shocking news Mrs. Mallard starts to cry and storms to her room. Everyone expects her to weep with agony and pain, but instead she sits down calmly. “There stood facing an open window, a comfortable, roomy armchair” (Gilbert, 2003, p. 213). “She said it over and over under her breath: “free, free, free” (Gilbert, 2003, p. 214). The feeling of freedom is apparently something she hasn’t felt in awhile. Her husband didn’t die in a railroad accident after all; he stands at the bottom of the stairs, eager to embrace his wife. Spotting her supposedly dead husband makes her heart condition unstable and she dies momentarily. “When the doctors came they said she died of heart disease-of joy that kills” (Gilbert, 2003, p. 215).
The reader expects her to react in a different way and ironically she is the one that dies in the end. In “The Story of an Hour,” Mrs. Mallard dreams about freedom, obviously she is in a repressed relationship and wants out, but women did not flee from their marriages during that time period. The irony is that she dies in order to have her freedom. “Mrs. Mallard’s death is both symbolic- in one hour; her freedom has been won and lost. For Chopin, Mrs. Mallard represents numerous women who sit silently bear the feelings of being trapped in unhappy marriages,” (Harris, 2007, p. 6).
“The Storm”
In the short story “The Storm,” Calixta is seen as the protagonist. She shows her need for freedom and independence by having a sexual affair with a man she previously knew. Calixta cares about her family and worried while her husband and son are caught in a rain storm. She says, “Oh Bobinot! You back! My! but I was uneasy. W’ere? you been during the rain? Ari Bibi’?” (Kennedy & Gioia, 3rd ed., p.102). In the story there doesn’t appear to be any reason for the affair other than possibly something missing and unfulfilling in her life. Calixta...

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