The Story of an Hour

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Throughout history the roles of women has changed dramatically. Women have been enslaved, put down and their rights taken away from them. Women have slowly but surly evolved into the individuals ones sees today in public office, law firms or even the five o’ clock news. However this evolution did not occur over night, it took time and can be made apparent in places one might not think to look. The roles of women in short stories have changed from a typical voiceless human being to one that dominates a story. In the short story “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin, the character Mrs. Mallard demonstrates a transformation that is necessary for a woman to have. The character Mrs. Mallard defies the traditional role of women in the 1800’s. In the beginning of the short story Mrs. Mallard is depicted as a weak and fragile woman who suffered from heart trouble. When the news of Mrs. Mallard’s husband’s death was made apparent, Richards, a family friend and Mrs. Mallard’s sister were very delicate in the way they broke the news to her. Once the news was broken to her, it seemed as if Mrs. Mallard would act to her husband’s death in the traditional way “ she wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment, in her sisters arm” (Chopin 11). However, Ms. Mallard defies the traditional role of the women by overcoming the feeling of sadness and instead replacing it with the feeling of joy. Mrs. Mallard realizes that her husband’s death should not be seen as an atrocity but instead as an act of freedom. This is made apparent by the words Mrs. Mallard uttered to herself in the room; she gradually lets the words “free, free, free!” escape from her mouth. This act relinquishes Mrs. Mallard from the subservient role she played for her husband and into her own person. To some Mrs. Mallards reaction to her husband’s death may have seemed distasteful but to others it is seen as a step in...
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