This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

Social Commentary In Chopin's The Story Of An Hour

1893 words - 8 pages

Social Commentary in Chopin's The Story of an Hour

IN "The Story of an Hour," Kate Chopin tells the tale of a woman who learns of her husband's untimely death, seeks solitude in which she proceeds to reflect upon this incident and its implications, has a life-altering/-giving epiphany, and proceeds to have all of the fresh hope and elation that had accompanied this experience dashed when her supposedly dead husband appears alive and well at her door, thereby inducing her sudden death. Read in isolation, it seems as if this is merely a detailed account of one woman's reaction to the death of her husband and, on a basic and concrete level, it is. However, to grasp Chopin's intended ...view middle of the document...

The remainder of the paragraph proceeds to depict how, due to his wife's "heart condition," the news of Brently Mallard's death has to be broken to her with "great care" and "as gently as possible." This portion serves to denote society's pervading stereotype of women as frail and overly emotional, as well as exceptionally dependent upon their husbands' existence for their well-being. Chopin's opening paragraph, which immediately begins to make the reader aware of society's perception of women, effectively offers numerous details that reflect the central ideas of the main theme and ultimately establishes the foundation upon which the social critique that follows is built.

As we proceed through the story, we are continually presented with instances that further exemplify the unhealthy perception of women held by society that Chopin is determined to illuminate and denounce. For example, when Josephine is forced to tell Mrs. Mallard that her husband has died she goes about doing so in "broken sentences," giving "veiled hints that reveal in half concealing," rather than telling her outright. This reinforces the idea that women were too frail to be spoken to in a direct and truthful manner, and is quite effective in that it has a woman (Josephine) exemplifying the stereotype. This exchange also reflects the pervasiveness of this perception of women, for it was universally accepted and adopted by all members of society regardless of gender. We are reminded of this stereotype throughout the rest of the story when Josephine "implores" her sister to let her into the room where she sits in solitude because she will "make herself ill," and also when Richards attempts to "screen [Brently] from the view of his wife" when he reappears unexpectedly at the end of the story.

These two consequent examples serve a dual purpose: they perpetuate the belief that women were exceptionally frail, and provide an avenue through which Chopin can denote the falsity in this belief. She accomplishes this task by changing the protagonist's reaction to this type of patronizing treatment as the story progresses. The first time that she is "gently" spoken to, she weeps "in her sister's arms," thus legitimating the idea that she does not possess the strength, physical or mental, to support herself. However, the following two times that she is treated so she defies the condescending party, telling her sister to "Go away" and asserting that she is not making herself ill, and finally by dying rather than re-succumbing to the repressive lifestyle that her husband is certain to impose upon her once again. The "progress" that Louise makes in the course of the story highlights the central idea that what society believes women need is quite contrary to what they actually require, and that if this dichotomy is not soon reconciled women will be forced to either retaliate or perish.

These ideas are intended to lead us to think about the role of women in our actual society, not...

Other Papers Like Social Commentary In Chopin's The Story Of An Hour

The Story of an Hour Essay

1073 words - 5 pages Fiction Essay The Story of An Hour Most women dream of a life filled with love and laughter, but many don’t dream that, in an instant, it can be gone and their lives can drastically change. In the 1800’s divorce was frowned upon, and marriage was not always out of love. Many marriages were arranged, and many were set up relative to social status. It was because of these types of marriages that many women were unhappy with their

The Story Of An Hour Essay

692 words - 3 pages The Story of An Hour Because of Mrs. Mallard's heart condition, everyone basically tiptoes around her and treats her carefully. When her sister and family friend discover Mr. Mallard got killed in an accident, they take time to gently tell Mrs. Mallard that her husband has died. Mrs. Mallard cries her eyes out, then goes to her room to be by herself and locks the door.Inside, she seems terrified of some knowledge that's coming to her and

The Story of an Hour

1415 words - 6 pages Abdulaziz Essa English102 12/16/2014 “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin and “Linoleum Rose” by Sandra Cisneros revolve around females’ lives and the role of women in the times they were written. “The story of an hour” was written in 1894 while “Linoleum Rose” was written in 1984. Even though there is almost a century gap between the two stories, the difficulties facing women were still almost the same. The stories illustrate how

The Story Of An Hour

1153 words - 5 pages The story of an hour Woman’s rights have changed very much through the last centuries. In the 19th century women were not allowed to make decisions. It was the man who ruled at home. Women just had to obey the man’s orders and do what they were told. Their place was in the kitchen, while the man dominated everything else. In the short story “The Story of An Hour, 1894 by Kate Chopin” we see that Mrs. Mallard, who is the main character of the

The Story of an Hour

649 words - 3 pages may not improve of. Then when adulthood is reached, some spend a lot of money to change their appearance just to feel excepted. Sometimes they make it off of the operation table, sometimes they don’t. The Barbie doll has become the ideal way that girls are supposed to look like when they get older. The title is not about just a toy, it’s more about an image of perfection. In the first stanza of the poem, Piercy gives an example of metonymy

The Story of an Hour - 1118 words

1118 words - 5 pages quota for acceptance in the small social system Nome has acquired. They keep those biased opinions alive through any means necessary. I recall back when I first moved there, there was an incident that pokes out past all of the other appalling situations. On my property was an old pear tree that black kids would climb to the very top to retrieve the biggest pears, they were there just waiting until their game at the gym next to our house started or

Story of an Hour

1351 words - 6 pages Haoua Gafoure Sidibe Professor Camisha Williams-Ferguson English 1302 04/11/2013 Rhetorical analysis of The Story of an Hour Kate Chopin’s ‘’The Story of an Hour’’ first appeared on April 19 1894. It is a short story in witch Chopin represents the negative view of marriage and shows us the times when women were prisoners of their husband. Through various mode of expression, the author effectively detailed the reaction of a woman toward the

Story of an Hour

1234 words - 5 pages The Story of an Hour 1. There are many themes in The Story of An Hour; ‘heart trouble’ – which describes not only the physical affliction of Mrs Mallard but also the emotional suffering in her marriage. Three other themes that are prominent within this story are; death, freedom and oppression. Though, the themes of freedom and oppression can be seen as the main themes within this story, as we see the character of Mrs Mallard – a Mallard is a

Story of an Hour

1233 words - 5 pages . It is easy to love a person, but dislike a lot of their qualities. Around the time of “The Story of An Hour,” 1890’s, women did not have the authority to make decisions in a marriage. Divorce was something that was looked down upon, and extremely uncommon. Louise was most likely forced to stay in her marriage due to the traditional values of that time period. So therefore, her questions of love and compassion for Brently Mallard was something she

"The Story of an Hour" Kate Chopin

1187 words - 5 pages is not going to agree with the societal norms. Still, their individual wish does not seem to bring a positive outcome. Works Cited Berkove, Lawrence I. “Fatal Self-Assertion in Kate Chopin's ‘The Story of an Hour’.” American Literary Realism 32, no. 2 (winter 2000): 152-58. Chopin, Kate. “The Story of an Hour.” The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Ed. Paul Lauter et al. 3ed ed. Vol. 2. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998: 536-8. 2 vols. Munro H. H., The Open Window. New York University Press. 2000.

Kate Chopin- the Story of an Hour

1256 words - 6 pages catering all of men’s needs. Women were not supposed to spend their free time with socializing, instead of taking care of family related things. In the lights of these circumstances, the feminist approach has revealed itself in literature. One of the good examples of feminist literature is Kate Chopin’s short story “The Story of an Hour”, which exposes the lack of freedom of women in the 1800s. In her story, Chopin estimates the situation of women

Related Essays

Perspectives On Liberation In Kate Chopin's The Story Of An Hour, And The Storm

884 words - 4 pages Sometimes the most liberating experiences are those not sought. In Chopin’s stories: “The Story of an Hour”, and “The Storm”, we are exposed to different views of liberation. The opportunity to venture with or without someone will be further elaborated. Furthermore, the act of gaining something is not necessarily always accomplished by addition. In Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour”, Mrs. Mallard was a woman trapped in a marriage. You

Irony In "The Story Of An Hour"

653 words - 3 pages Irony in Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” “The story of an hour” by Kate Chopin is described as a story of great irony having many unexpected twists and turns. Situational and dramatic irony is used throughout the story. This is a story of a woman who finds out her husband’s death in a train accident and reacts with sadness in the beginning, but then realizes a freedom and relief from her repressive life. She experiences a complete joy over the

The Story Of An Hour Essay

1318 words - 6 pages she could not have both. The contradiction makes her a complex person and confused about her marriage . Mrs. Mallard suffers from her marriage due to the lack of freedom. In late 1890s, the social requirements for women are piety, chastity, obedience and docile. In order to get so-called happy marriage, they have to obey these rules. In Jamil, S. Selina’s “Emotions in the Story of an Hour”. He mentions “the patriarchy of that time “mandated the

The Story Of An Hour Essay 1336 Words

1336 words - 6 pages Running head: ESSAY 6.1: THE STORY OF AN HOUR Essay 6.1: The Story of an Hour Jeremy Todd Macy ITT Technical Institute Essay 6.1: The Story of an Hour Freedom!!! Liberation!!! The idea of living your life for yourself, not others; it is something that we all dream of at some point in our lives, but how many of us actually achieve that? Whether we feel trapped in a job that we hate, a bad friendship, or a bad marriage, there is something