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The Story of an Hour: The Theme of Freedom

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 pretexts, including "protection," "possession" and even "love." Women have been the victims of male chauvinism in a traditionally patriarchal world since times immemorial. Even in the western society, women's emancipation is a recent phenomenon. In the "Story," Chopin has depicted how an apparently happy marriage can be so restrictive for a woman that it stifles all initiative and freedom in her. So much so that even an apparently disastrous event such as the death of her husband may prove to be a source of opportunity and joy for a woman. This may seem like an odd observation to those who are unfamiliar with the writings of Chopin. Those who have read Chopin's works such as "The Awakening" (1899) or ...

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The Story of an Hour: The Theme of Freedom. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 07:57, July 01, 2015, from