English Comp II
Wylee Rogers M.A.
January 29, 2007
Feminism in "The Story of an Hour"
Feminism is an ideology dealing with women's struggles for the same rights as men. It proposed that all women should be politically, economically, and socially equal to men. The idea arose in the 19th century and is synonymous with the Women's Rights Movement of the 1900s. To get a glimpse of what many women were faced with in the 19th century, imagine the time when women were considered inferior and unequal to men. Women were discriminated against by males and treated like second class citizens. They did not have the right to vote and married women did not have the right to own their on land. When a woman got married, all of her property went to her husband. They were also condemned by the historic theory of male supremacy and ignorant Neanderthals in the sexist American society of the 19th century. According to author James M. Henslin, "Men tenaciously held on to their privileges and used social institutions to maintain their position, basic rights for women came only through bitter struggle" (320). During this time, women became enlightened about their God given rights which are eloquently stated in the United States "Declaration of Independence" as "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness" (qtd. in Barnes, Schmidt, and Shelley). Women realized that these rights should apply to them too. They were not content with their unequal social, political, and economical statuses, so they became proactive by protesting. One author known for her feministic views was Kate Chopin. Chopin's views of feminism inspired her to incorporate those views into some of her short stories and she became unpopular and shunned for her forward thinking. Her short story, "The Story of an Hour," captures the essence of Chopin's feministic views because the main character, Mrs. Mallard, becomes enlightened about her rights of liberty and happiness when her husband dies, and...