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Short Story Criticism Argument Paper - Essay Example

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Name: Course: Tutor: Date: A Critical Analysis of the Feminist Theme in “The Story of an Hour” and A Critical Response to “Feminine Self-Assertion in ‘The Story of an Hour” In his essay, “Feminine Self-Assertion in ‘The Story of an Hour”, Prof…
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Short Story Criticism Argument Paper

Download file to see previous pages... But in Chopin’s age such an attempt of a woman to seek for freedom which seems to be insulting to the male-dominated society usually ends in smoke like Louise, as Wang says in the following sentence, “By the death of Louise at the end of the story, Chopin clearly implies that any woman’s search for ideal feminine selfhood is impossible in an age dominated by patriarchs” (Wang 107). Indeed the textual evidences that Wang puts forth are not strong enough to prove his proposition as a fact. In this paper, I will prove that Wang’s claim about Chopin’s motif in the story is partially right and partially wrong. It is true that Kate Chopin explores “feminine selfhood in a patriarchal society” but not through “the heroine’s spiritual journey to freedom”. Again, unlike Wang’s proposition, Chopin’s heroine does not show any sign of attempt to search for her feminine selfhood. What Wang says in support of his claim about “the heroine’s spiritual journey to freedom” is the textual reference to Louise’s reaction to the possibility of freedom at the possible death of her husband. Louise’s one-hour reaction to the possible freedom does not involve any struggle that could provoke the protagonist’s awareness of her imprisonment in the male dominated society. Therefore, Wang’s phrase, “the heroine’s spiritual journey to freedom”, is quite meaningless in the sense that Chopin’s protagonist does not make a journey to freedom. Indeed freedom once comes to her unexpectedly. Again, since Louise is ignorant of what imprisons her in a male dominated society, she can see only the minimal aspect of freedom. For Chopin’s protagonist, freedom means to live for herself, not for others, to live on one’s own will, as the narrator of the story tells Louise’s feeling for the oncoming freedom: “There would be no one to live for during those coming years; she would live for herself. There would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature” (Chopin 89). Such perception of freedom rather reveals the protagonist’s immaturity and failure to perceive the greater responsibility that freedom imposes upon the one who enjoys it. When ‘to live for others’ is supposed to be one’s duty one’s freedom “to avoid it” should be considered as anarchy. Louise’s perception of freedom is ultimately flawed, because she seeks freedom from her responsibilities for others and because she does not seek freedom to be responsible. However, Louise herself is not responsible for such flawed perception of freedom; rather she is a mere production of the patriarchy that shapes her psychological development in such way. Unlike Wang’s claim that Louise makes a journey to freedom at the prospect of her husband’s death, she remains far away from freedom in its true sense. Apart from this wrong interpretation, Wang righteously asserts that Chopin’s protagonist begins to form her selfhood hearing the news of her husband’s death. Though Wang claims that Louise searches for “ideal feminine selfhood” (Wang 108), Chopin’s portrayal of Louise’s nascent self is purely asexual, not a feminine selfhood. A man also can possess the self that Louise starts to form after hearing the death-news. It is the self (the asexual one) that defies any bondage and repression in any form and that always resists the suppressive power. Louise ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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