Society’s Effect on Women: Exploring Works by Kate Chopin

Topics: Marriage, Kate Chopin, Sexual intercourse Pages: 5 (1721 words) Published: December 4, 2013
Kate Chopin, an American author, is known for her feminist theme of writing in her novels and short stories. Chopin wrote her many of her stories around a time when society was very obstructive about the view of women and their place in society, a time when women who did not have their own voices were merely servants to their husbands. In the stories “The Story of an Hour,” “The Storm,” and “Desiree’s Baby,” Chopin portrays oppression of women and shows the affect the condition of the society had on women and how they saw life and marriage.

“Story of an Hour” is a short story about a young woman, Louise Mallard, whose husband had just died. Because of her heart trouble she has to be told of his death extremely carefully. Her sister is the one who breaks the news to her. At this point Louise begins to repeat the word “free” over and over again. After a while her sister comes to her door begging her to come out and to cheer up. Louise immediately tells her to go about and continues to fantasize about her free days ahead. When she finally opens the door to go downstairs and join her sister and her friend the door suddenly opens and Louies’ husband Brently walks in. Doctors arrive later and pronounce Louise had died of a heart attack that must have been brought on by happiness.

In the “Story of an Hour” Chopin writes about a women’s desire for freedom and self-identity from the imprisonment she is undergoing in her married life. Louise suffers from a heart problem and in a way this exemplifies how she is an oppressed women in her marriage. Unlike most women Louises’ heart is not in her marriage. Her view of marriage is simply a weight that has been holding her down. She is not at all satisfied with the requirements and bondage that comes along with being a wife. She feels if she was not married she would be able to live out every one of her hearts desires. Therefore when she learns of her husband’s death she believes all chains have been broken and she is now free of her vows of marriage and can finally live her life however she feels.

Chopin go on to mention things and small details like “the patches of blue sky through the clouds,” and the beginning of spring to show just how aware Louise was about the true nature of her newfound freedom. She will now be able to go out live out her dreams and establish herself, and will no longer be bound to a man or a household. In this story Chopin showed how marriage acts merely as a border between women and their wants and desires. The expectations society has for women and their duties and roles they should play as wives tend to cause to oppression and suppression for their desire of self-identity.

“The Storm” is about a woman named Calixta who is left at home while her son Bibi and his father Bobinot went out to the local store. With a big storm approaching Bibi and Bobinot decide it would be better to wait out the storm at the store but are extremely worried about Calixta who will have to endure the storm alone. While at home Calixta learns of the approaching storm. Alcee, Calixta’s ex boyfriends just happens to be passing by her home and gets stuck in her home with him until the storm eases. At first Calixta becomes more and more worried about her family stuck at the store, however after a while she and Alcee begin to reminisce about pass encounters and before she knows they are passionately kissing. Neither of them is aware of the growing storm as they are entangled in their own sexual relations. Once the storm is over Alcee leave and Calixta’s family returns and never find about his being there.

In “The Storm” Kate focuses on the issue of a woman’s love and desires. The storm (or cyclone) in this story, is most likely figuratively referring to Calixta’s inhibited sexual and passionate desires being confined by her marriage. Robert Wilson of The University of British Columbia, suggests that "Chopin’s title refers to nature, which is symbolically feminine; the storm...
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