A Feminist Approach of Kate Chopin’s “the Story of an Hour”

Topics: Sociology, Gender, Patriarchy Pages: 2 (410 words) Published: May 1, 2012
Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour”, depicts how a woman temporarily achieves freedom in a patriarchal society. Chopin explores the entrapment of women in a male dominated culture. It is undeniable that Mrs. Mallard is oppressed by her husband and society. This is revealed to us soon after Mrs. Mallard receives the news of her husband’s death. Mrs. Mallard’s inner thoughts and true feelings towards her husband’s death support the argument that she was not only oppressed, but also yearned for a life of her own.

It becomes apparent that Louise is subject to patriarchal rule when her outlook on life changes within minutes of her husband’s death. “It was only yesterday she had thought with a shudder that life might be long” but now “ her fancy was running riot along those days ahead of her… All sorts of days that would be her own” (Chopin 2). We can imagine that Louise was indeed oppressed by her husband, given how her perspective on life changes so dramatically. The landscape outside her window also mirrors her change in perspective. “She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life. The delicious breath of rain was in the air” (Chopin 2)

The joy that overcomes Louise is the result of her new discovered freedom. Since the socially constructed belief’s, regarding women, rejected the idea of women being free and or independent, Louise can only enjoy her freedom privately. “When she abandoned herself, a little whispered word escaped her slightly parted lips. She said it over and over under her breath: "free, free, free!" (Chopin 2). At this point is becomes apparent that she has gained some sense of autonomy. Although the thought of independence was forbidden Louise carries “herself unwittingly like a goddess of Victory” as she exists her bedroom.

Male dominance appears again when her husband enters the house unharmed. His arrival signals the return of her oppressed life, a life lived for...
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