The Story of An Hour by Kate Chopin



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The Story of An Hour by Kate Chopin


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The Story of An Hour by Kate Chopin

Kate Chopin’s short story was first published in 1894 and like most of her stories, “The Story of An Hour” focused on women and their journeys to independence and self-discovery. Chopin was married by the age of 20 and 12 years later her husband passed away. The story is believed to be derived from her personal experience. “The Story of An Hour” is about a woman who had just learned of the death of her husband, she wept at first in the arms of her sister but then retreated to her room. While she was sitting alone in her room she came to the realization that with a dead husband she was finally free, for the first time in her life, but shortly after that her husband walked in through the door and she dropped dead, Doctors said she had died “of the joy that kills”. This story as many of Chopin’s stories raises the question of what marriage was like, back in the 19th century, especially for women. First, we will study the inevitable oppressive nature of marriage in the 19th century. Then, we will study the unattainable joy of independence.
The inevitable oppressive nature of marriage is the greatest hidden theme in this short story. Marriage in the 19th century was believed to be a patriarchal tool used to control women and their lives. Louise’s reaction to the death of her husband showed that she was genuinely devastated by the news. They had a loving marriage “She knew that she would weep again when she saw the kind, tender hands folded in death; the face that had never looked save with love upon her, fixed and gray and dead.”, this paragraph showed that she was mourning her husband  and that he was a loving husband. This shows that Louise’s feelings of freedom weren’t criticizing her marriage in particular but the institution of marriage itself.  Even though she had a happy or “normal” marriage she was feeling entrapped and imprisoned, but her shackles broke when her husband died.
The unattainable joy of independence is shown throughout the st...

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The Story of An Hour by Kate Chopin

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