Feminism in the Story of an Hour

Topics: Feminism, Gender role, Woman Pages: 6 (2172 words) Published: May 26, 2013
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.    

 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.    Feminism can be traced in “The Story of an Hour” which is about an hour in the life of the main character Mrs. Mallard . . In this story, a woman named Mrs. Mallard believes her husband to be dead, and at first, is very sad. Then, as her independence sinks in, she is elated with the idea of her newfound freedom. At last, she discovers that her husband has not died and she is so surprised that she dies of heart disease.  The story shows the thoughts and emotions that can support the feminist theory.  At the beginning of the story, Mrs. Mallard is overcome with grief with the loss of her husband.  This shows that the female is an emotional person compared to men.  It was natural to know that she would be upset with the death of her husband, but the story had both her sister and her husband’s friend be there to break the news to her.  Mrs. Mallard has heart problems which can make the reader see her as a weaker person right at the beginning of the story.  From the start, we as readers are told to see Mrs. Mallard as a naturally weaker character. the story reveals that society is a patriarchal society . So the female has no real authority or important role. She is inferior than man . She is dependent on man. The female is regarded as a fragile creature. Mrs Mallard has been oppressed in her marriage. Chopin suggests that all marriages, even the kindest ones, are inherently oppressive. Louise, who readily admits that her husband was kind and loving, nonetheless feels joy when she believes that he has died. Louise views Brently’s death as a release from oppression. She never names a specific way in which Brently oppressed her, hinting instead that marriage in general stifles both women and men. She even seems to suggest that she has oppressed Brently just as much as he has oppressed her. Louise’s epiphany in which these thoughts parade through her mind reveals the inherent oppressiveness of all marriages, which by their nature rob people of their independence.

 After she hears the news of her husband’s death Mrs Mallard ‘s character starts to appear as a feminist character. She goes to her room. After she sits down, Mrs. Mallard begins to appear as a stronger woman which is where the feminist theory takes effect.  She looks out of the house through the large open window which could also signify the open opportunities available to her now.  She begins to see how her marriage made her into a lesser person.  She realizes that she has been living her life through limitations caused from being married.  Mrs. Mallard knows that she can begin to live for herself.  The story says, “There would be no 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.”  This quote shows the feminist theory that it was assumed women were oppressed and shows the patriarchal ideology.  She was bending her will and freedom to a white man that held all of the control in the relationship.  Marriage, in this story, appears to be the male having complete control over the woman.  It also seems like Mrs. Mallard thought that she wasn’t even allowed to have her own thoughts which was probably true.  To question your husband at this period in time meant that you were being an out of control wife.

Mrs. Mallard goes on to realize how much she really does not love her husband.  She doesn’t...
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