Gender Oppression

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Stephen Cunniffe
ENG 205- World Lit
Thesis- Draft 2
Story of An Hour
Gender and Oppression
American society values its image of itself on being equal and accepting of women. Reproductive rights, equal pay and women’s suffrage have boasted women in a light that poses them more equal to men. However, in some literature there are still examples of sexual inequalities and disparities. Story of An Hour (1894) by Kate Chopin, exposes how gender differences provoke responses in women who are experiencing oppression due to their gender roles.

Oppression plays a role in the development of Mrs. Mallard as well as her physical well-being. “Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with a heart trouble, great care was taken to break to her as gently as possible the news of her husband’s death.” Chopin is saying that Mrs. Mallard cannot take the news of her husband’s death, not only because of her heart condition but also because she is a frail woman. “Gently” meaning that if it were to be said outright that she would fail to survive the news of his death. Also, her “heart trouble” was not specified as being a cardiac issue, it could refer to Mrs. Mallard having a tremendous amount of love for her husband that might cause dire effects. She is treated as if she was already damaged by a prior incident and that this news will put her over the edge. Her response to the news of her husbands death is not typically one would act when they are oppressed.

Mrs. Mallard was the typical housewife who expressed the same passion and devotion of the normal wife would in the 1890’s.“She wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment, in her sister’s arms. When the storm of grief had spent itself she went away to her room alone.” Here Mrs. Mallard fits the precise gender role that people would assume a wife would act when hearing of their husband’s death. Weeping and abandonment are signs of grief and loss of someone who is important to you. Also she does this in the comfort of her...
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