Kate Chopin Short Stories

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Kate Chopin was an American feminist fiction writer and a woman ahead of her time. She lived in the socially conservative nineteenth-century, but in her stories, she wrote about unconventional characters, particularly women, that caused others to question her morality. Similar to the female characters in her stories, Kate Chopin was an independent woman. She would often smoke cigarettes or walk in the streets unaccompanied; these practices were considered unusual for a nineteenth-century woman to do ("Katherine Chopin"). One critic points out that many of Chopin's stories are characteristic of "independent heroines" and their conjugal relationships (qtd. in Hicks). "The Story of an Hour" and "The Storm" are two of Chopin's feministic short stories that focus on women and their views on marriage. . "The Story of an Hour," published in 1894, highlights woman self-assertion when the protagonist, Louise Mallard, rejoices after hearing of her husband's death. Unlike most women may have reacted, Mrs. Mallard does not hear the story of her husband's death "with a paralyzed inability to accept its significance," implying that her relationship with her husband was troubled. After all, she is not shocked at the prospect of being alone. On the contrary, she is jubilant once she realizes that she no longer has a husband to impose on her (Hicks). She envisions "a long procession of years that would belong to her absolutely." No longer would she have to sacrifice for her husband. She is "free, free, free!" Kate Chopin suggests that marriages in the nineteenth-century were male dominated and woman oppressed. In the late nineteenth-century, men held most of the power in marriages. Women were uneducated and were only taught household duties. Young girls learned that women were to get married and have children; therefore, they were raised as wives. In addition, because women were uneducated, each needed a husband for economic support. Perhaps Mrs. Mallard only married because...
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