The Story of an Hour: The Theme of Freedom

Length: 4 Pages 1087 Words

The author, Kate Chopin (born: 1850; died: 1904) is believed by many critics to have been far ahead of her time. She wrote on feminist issues during a period when women were considered as no more than mere possessions of their husbands and "women's liberation," far from being practiced, did not even exist as a word. Her writing style was based on objectivity bereft of any semblance of "preaching," which make her stories effective and realistic. In "The Story of an Hour" she explores the stark difference in the private feelings of a nineteenth century woman and how she is expected to behave by the society. "The Story…" is considered by many to be an autobiographical depiction of Kate Chopin's own life as the author's husband had died when she was relatively young. According to other critics, however, the story is a musing by the author about her mother's (Eliza O'Flaherty) marriage and read it as a criticism of institution of marriage that traps women and takes away their freedom. (Toth, p. 10) There can hardly be any argument on the fact that "Freedom" is one of the most cherished of human desires. It is, unfortunately, denied to a large number of people by their fellow-men under different Continue...


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It is reminiscent of a song by the Britishpop singer, Sting: "If you love somebody, set them free!"1 In a similarvein, the marriage of Brently and Louise Mallard in "The Story. Chopin, throughan ironic "twist in the tail" of her story shows us that the ultimatefreedom does not lie in our lives; it can only be found in "death. " (Para 5)The event that followed, when "something too subtle and elusive" approachesfrom the sky for which Louise waited fearfully, has been described byDaniel P. The passage "what could love, theunsolved mystery, count for in face of this possession of self-assertionwhich she suddenly recognized as the strongest impulse of her being!" (para15) further stresses the importance of "freedom" as compared to "love. Those who have read Chopin's workssuch as "The Awakening" (1899) or "The Story of an Hour" can easilyempathize with the feelings of women who have lived all their lives underthe shadows of their male relatives and never realized their potential. Mallard, a woman "afflicted with hearttrouble," about to receive the news of her husband's death in a trainaccident. So much so that even an apparently disastrous eventsuch as the death of her husband may prove to be a source of opportunityand joy for a woman. Deneau as "some type of sexual experience. " Love is often used by many people as a license to "possess" theirlovers and as a "right to impose a private will upon a fellow creature. " Women have been thevictims of male chauvinism in a traditionally patriarchal world since timesimmemorial. In the "Story," Chopin has depicted how an apparently happymarriage can be so restrictive for a woman that it stifles all initiativeand freedom in her. pretexts,including "protection," "possession" and even "love.

PROFESSIONAL ESSAYS:

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