Female Repression of the 19th Century as Seen Thru the Two Stories: the Necklace and the Story of an Hour

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For centuries man has created this patriarchal society in which women have been treated as the lesser entity, having no sense of self-being or worth. These feelings led women to feel repressed in their everyday life. It was in the late nineteenth century when literary writers started to expose this female repression. Guy de Maupassant and Kate Chopin clearly express definitive examples of female repression in their stories, The Necklace and The Story of an Hour.

During this time period, women’s role in society was that of a submissive, powerless position. They often relied solely on their husband for direction, allowing the husband to make decisions and take lead no matter what. In the story of The Necklace, Maupassant illustrates these submissive, almost fearful thoughts of women. “She reflected several seconds, making her calculations and wondering about what sum she could ask without drawing on herself an immediate refusal and a frightened exclamation from the economical clerk” (Maupassant 61). His use of the word “drawing on herself” (61) suggest women often cause their own repression, as if it was their fault. Kate Chopin provides us with an example of women’s powerless position when she writes, “She was beginning to recognize this thing that was approaching to posses her, and she was striving to beat it back with her will- as powerless as her two slender hands would have been.” It was as if it took everything for Mrs. Mallard to “beat back” (Chopin 67) her feelings. She had never had to fight anything so hard before.

Having this feeling of powerlessness often directly related to women having no sense of ownership in their lives. “… she was drinking in a very elixir of life through that open window. Her fancy was running riot along those days ahead of her. Spring days, and summer days, and all sorts of days that would be her own” (Chopin 67). In The Story of An Hour, Mrs. Mallard finally feels like everything in the world is her own now since her...
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