Feminism in “The Story of an Hour”
"The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin tells the story of a woman gaining independence after her husband’s death. The author uses feminist theory to display her beliefs and values. The relationship between Louise and Brently Mallard, Louise's reaction to the news of Brently's death, and her reaction to seeing him alive again are ways that Kate Chopin displays feminism.
The relationship between the Mallards as described in "The Story of an Hour" suggests the harsh realities of marriage. Chopin described Louise's marriage as a "powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature." Feminists largely see marriage as a malevolent and oppressive institution. Louise said that "often she had not [loved Brently]", which supports Chopin's feminist ideologies.
Louise Mallard has a very positive reaction to her husband’s death, which supports the feminist theory. She faces a "possession of self-assertion which she suddenly recognized as the strongest impulse of her being" upon locking herself in a room to deal with the news. Louise realizes that "she would live for herself" in the new chapter of her life. Chopin uses écriture féminine to voice Louise Mallards reactions to the patriarchal society she lives in. Louise's reaction displays the obvious partiality of Chopin.
The last line of the short story says that Louise died of a heart attack prompted by a flare of her heart disease from the joy of seeing her husband alive. The reader can infer that it was not a heart attack from joy, but rather anger and depression of seeing Brently walk in the door. Louise spent a good amount of time alone coming to the self-actualization that she was no longer tied down to someone she did not love just before those new dreams were dashed. Louise "breathed a quick prayer that life might be long" just before descending the stairs to her death. Chopin...
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