Kate Chopin

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Home and away – Picture book by John Marsden and Matt Ottley The story of an hour – Kate chopin
* This short story is set in the 19thcentury and shows the tension between female characters and the society that surrounds them. Margaret Baurer suggests Chopin is concerned with exploring the dynamic interrelation between men and women. And women and patriarchy, even women and women. She users gender to contemplate feminine identity and at the same time to critique patriarchal society that define and limits that identity, being primarily concerned with the way gender roles deny identity * The story is set in the 19thcentury at a time when a woman was judged by her husband neighbours and society and women’s identity was constrained by expectations of purity, virtue and domesticity. This domesticity relegated women to the home, denying them intellectual and professional capabilities * In the story Mrs Mallard becomes aware of her own desires and of a feminine self that has long been suppressed as the result of her husband’s death. As a result she attempts to create and identity that conflicts with gender constraints of a patriarchal society * It demonstrates through his process the control of female experiences as a result of masculine privilege that limit the individual and stops them achieving a self and accepted feminine identity that is unique. The shaping of expectations as a result of gender is seen when Mrs mallards condition is described as a congenital weakness that is biologically determined with Chopin using this to introduce the idea of biological determinism i.e. gender behaviour as shaped by biology rather than the contemporary belief that its socially constructed * Chopin is demonstrating the way society perceives women and wives as weak individuals who are childlike. The text ironically suggests that these definitions are the results of patriarchy and that such categorising means that the society fails to perceive the true nature of Mrs Mallard’s problems namely the lack of emotion and affection in her marriage and in her life * The text suggests that the only way to deal with patriarchal society is to define an individualised sense of self. Mrs Mallard’s initial response to the news of her husband’s death when she weeps with wild abandonment foreshadows an opportunity to define her outside the roles and codes that previously restricted her. This is seen as she contemplates the open square your window, exploring a possible new consciousness. * Ironically when she can see beyond the window she does not know how to react. It is her lack of identity and therefore inability to understand her experiences that stifles are emerging self. Mrs Mallards resistance to freedom is reflected in her hands and reflects the suppressions of women in patriarchal society that conditions their behaviour * The institution of marriage is also founded on the objectification of women and denial of the self and feminine desires as seen when Mrs Mallard can only escape from this with her husband’s death. Chopin demonstrates that even within the confines of a loving supportive marriage the wife lacks identity and a voice * After accepting her newfound identity Mrs Mallard leaves her room, a symbolic domestic space to join her sister yet ironically the conclusion of the story emphasises the idea that patriarchalsystem create and continue them to behave this way. The misreading of the protagonists reaction to her husband’s return demonstrates the in ability for individuals to comprehend behaviours outside of prescribed gender boundaries. The doctor’s determination that she died of joy that kills ironically reinforces Chopin’s critique of a patriarchal system that defines women as objects. It is establishing of a unique of a patriarchal system that defines women as object. It is the establishing of a unique identity that means that Mrs Mallard can no longer exist in her society as she is no longer a secondary...
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