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The Story of an Hour - Essay Example

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The Story of an Hour Professor Institution The ‘Story of an Hour’ is a short story by Kate Chopin that gives Chopin’s view of the role that women play in marriage. The protagonist of the story (Mrs. Mallard) receives news that her husband has died in an accident…
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The Story of an Hour

Download file to see previous pages... According to this interpretation, the woman dies because she cannot stand the thought of going back to the oppressive life under her husband. There is, however, a different interpretation that asserts that Mrs. Mallard dies from the joy of seeing her husband alive. The story, therefore, is about freedom and entrapment (or oppression). The oppression that women face is seen in the challenges that Mrs. Mallard faces in her life. She (Mrs. Mallard) receives the news that her husband has tragically died in a train crash. While one would expect that such news would cause her deep sorrow and anguish, the news awakens in her a sense of freedom that she had long suppressed. Instead of mourning her husband, she celebrates his death, as to her it is the beginning of new life. The story makes use of symbolism to illustrate the sense of escape and freedom that Mrs. Mallard gains upon the death of her husband. After receiving the news of her husband’s death, it is said, she sat ‘facing the open window [in] a comfortable, roomy armchair’ (Chopin, 1984). The window can be seen as a symbol of the freedom that Mrs. Mallard faces. The story also makes reference to ‘new spring’ (Chopin, 1984). The spring is used to symbolize new life, which Mrs. ...
She cannot let those around her know that her husband’s death has brought her a sense of freedom and liberation. The patriarchal society dictates that she has to mourn her husband’s death for a period of one year. She knows that when her husband’s body is brought, she must ‘weep again.’ She, however, does not seem to mind the rituals that she has to go through as she feels that she has finally gained her freedom. This is because she understands that the society would see her thoughts as extreme. Mrs. Mallard is said to have a medical condition, which can be read in a construct of the male-dominated world that she has to live in. The medical profession that is male-dominated has failed in its attempt to cure her. This can be seen as a reflection of the failure of the male-dominated world. She (Mrs. Mallard) is in a marriage that is oppressive, which has been dictated by the patriarchal system in which they exist. While her husband is not her direct oppressor or abuser, he does not do anything to ensure her happiness. Indeed, he seems to disregard her happiness (Kahle, 2010). The inability to escape from the reality of the male-dominant world is shown by the fact that the change for Mrs. Mallard is only temporary, and she soon has to return to the old situation of oppression. It soon turns out that her husband is not actually dead, and the oppressive order is restored. She is punished for the fact that she had rejoiced in the news of her husband’s death. The masculine order is restored when her husband unexpectedly returns unharmed. When she dies, the doctors say that her cause of death is heart disease. It, therefore, seems that the joy that she had felt was the cause of her death. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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