The Story of an Hour: A Feminist Reading

In Kate Chopin’s short story “The Story of an Hour”, the element of oppression exists. Not only does Louise Mallard suffer in her medical and marital conditions, but she also poses a threat to herself, as her sister Josephine warns. The story reflects this danger thoroughly, since all of the action in the story revolves around Louise Mallard’s preservation. Everything orchestrates to save her from any sudden and/or extreme distress. In the end, only the equilibrium of her situation survives: Brently Mallard’s return signals the return of her oppressive condition and ensures that Louise Mallard will experience no more than a momentary change in her situation. This unchanging prospect—the ...

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becomes “free! Body and soul free!” This denomination, as well as the change it embodies, promotes briefness. Louise’s status as “wife” reestablishes at once in the story’s language and in Louise’s life when Bradley comes in “view if his wife.”
Louise’s medical condition illustrates the narrative construct of a masculine world as well: The male-dominated medical profession identifies, yet fails to treat, her heart trouble. Her perceived frailty prompts Richards’ chivalric intercession. Even the narrator observes that Louise sobs “as a child who has cried itself to sleep.” Likewise, her marriage exemplifies the status of women in the early twentieth century in that the woman must act subject to the patriarch’s “powerful will bending hers.” Although Brently “had never looked save with love upon her,” he disregarded Louise’s happiness: The “lines [of her face] bespoke repression.”
Louise’s prospect before her becomes perceptible when she hears of Mr. Mallard’s death. Whereas before ...

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Added: 3/29/2011 05:35:40 PM
Submitted By: trs123
Category: English
Type: Premium Paper
Words: 857
Pages: 4

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