Women's Oppression as Shown by "Story of an Hour"

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Explication of the Story of an Hour

During the late 1800’s into the early 1900’s women were oppressed socially and politically. Women had less legal rights including the right to vote as well as less opportunities in the job market. They were expected to take care of the family rather than hold jobs and during the time divorce was very unlikely for women due to there strong dependence on men. In the short story “Story of an Hour” written by Kate Chopin, a strong believer in female’s independence, she writes the story of a women, Louise Mallard, going from mourning the death of her husband to coming to realize her new found freedom.

At the beginning of the story it is made very clear to the reader that Mrs. Mallard is afflicted with heart trouble and is upset with the death of her husband after she weeps in her sister, Josephine’s arms after the news has been delivered to her. However, later it is stated that “the tops of the trees were all aquiver with the new spring life”. The imagery does not evoke feelings of sadness or upset but rather what seems to be new ideas and a new beginning. The feelings Mrs. Mallard had been trying to fight back were the feelings of freedom and independence as the reader can conclude after she states several times “free!”. From that moment she realized there would be no one to control her she would be able to live a life of her own. As she descended down the stares like a “goddess of victory”, Brently Mallard, Mrs. Mallards husband shows up and “she had died of heart disease --of joy that kills”. The ending can be seen as very ironic because Josephine, Mr. Mallard, and Richard were all convinced that she died from the shock of overwhelming happiness that her husband was still alive when in actuality the reader can interpret it as her dieing from the shock of overwhelming upset that she wouldn’t be able to live her new free life.

The short story “Story of an Hour” gives us good insight to how women may have felt at the...
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