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A Woman's Self: The I as A Subject Versus The Object - Assignment Example

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The notion of a “free woman” is an oxymoron during the nineteenth century, as depicted in Kate Chopin's (1894) “The Story of an Hour.” A woman cannot be genuinely “free,” because the society keeps her chained to her gender roles…
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A Womans Self: The I as A Subject Versus The Object
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Download file to see previous pages Mrs. Mallard has found a way to break her socially-conditioned “self,” in a process of rapid “awakening” to the development of her “I.” I can relate to this story, because I believe that people often see what they want to see in others and so Mrs. Mallard is a product of other people's perceptions. In reality, she only begins to “know” her “self” in one hour, after she learns that her husband has died. She learns her “I” in relation to the “self” that the society has molded. Louise has changed from being an “object” to finding her “self,” because she has realized the value of the “I,” where she becomes aware of her imprisonment as a married woman, discovers intrinsic living, and decides to keep her newfound “self” by killing her old “self.”
To discover one's imprisonment paves the path to liberation, from the realization of freedom's necessity, followed by reflection and action on it. The protagonist of “The Story of an Hour” realizes that she has been Mrs. Mallard all her life. Chopin shows this in the characterization of Mrs. Mallard, where her first name is not mentioned in the first paragraph of the story. Instead, the name “Mrs. Mallard” stresses her “self,” as the “wife” of a “man,” which symbolizes her being an “object,” because of her imprisonment to her gender roles, as a woman and as a wife. Mrs. Mallard's first name is revealed as “Louise,” after she realizes that she is finally “free”. When she learns that her husband has died in an accident, she weeps uncontrollably....
The image of the trees “aquiver with the new spring life” sends the message of liberation (Chopin). The sparrows “twittering” shows the mounting feeling of happiness. The irony of the setting of spring further designates that “death” is passing for this story, because the actual and enduring theme is “life.” Brent's death has dashed the winter of his wife's existence: “...so she, like the trees, feels aquiver with life” (Rosenblum, 2004, p.2). Mrs. Mallard excitedly embraces the notion of freedom: “...she opened and spread her arms out to them in welcome” (Chopin). She outgrows her “fear and anticipation” of the unknown experience of her “I” (Deneau, 2003, p. 211), and she cannot wait to act on her independence's implications, such as planning for her days ahead, without anyone dictating to her what she “should” do. Indeed, Louise has found “freedom” outside her marriage's entrapment, away from the home, which is the entire setting of the story. Intrinsic living is about finding meaning in the “I,” which demands independence and making brave choices. “I” concerns independence in making choices for one's “self.” Before, Mrs. Mallard is an “object” of society, particularly her husband. It does not even matter if he loved her, but it matters more that she can finally make choices for her “self.” Chopin stresses this, when Louise appreciates that Brent looks at her with “love,” “[b]ut she saw beyond that bitter moment a long procession of years to come that would belong to her absolutely.” Shen (2009) talks about the contextual irony of Louise's “bereavement,” because she does not feel grief for a long time (p.117). Instead, her ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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