Culture teaches us that our existence is a mere reflection of what already exists. In Kate Chopinr’s The Story of an Hour epitomizes the plight of women in the 19th century, as well as in the present day. Women frequently lived in loveless marriages where they were thought of more as commodities than as people. Additionally, Kate Chopin mirrors a reflection of society to show that women were not happy with the oppressive and submissive gender roles of 1890r’s society. In the short story the character Mrs. Mallard could be said to represent women of her time period who were unable to find happiness in marriage and motherhood, not because itr’s not found there, but because their freedom within marriage are restricted. Louise Mallard experiences what people in society today long for throughout their lives in relationships, freedom and happiness.
Furthermore, immediately after the news of her husbandr’s death, Mrs. Mallard races upstairs into her bedroom where she settles into a comfortable, roomy armchair (para. 4). The armchair symbolizes the rest from the oppressive life she had and freedom from societyr’s expectations. Since it is tradition for women to be married by a certain age, Louise Mallard must have obligated to marry her husband Brently. Chopin suggests that all marriages, even the kindest ones, are inherently oppressive.
During the 1890r’s, women were owned by their husbands and had little to no control over their own live. Evidence of how little control women had over their lives can be found in the line from the story that reads, There would be no one to live for in those coming years; she would live for herself. Mrs. Mallard clearly has no hope for any independence or free will as long as her husband is alive. She admits that her husband wasnt really cruel to her but even if he’s kind, even if he means well, he still has the power in the relationship. Therefore, the wife is always the lesser party. She must always bend to his will, she must live for him rather than for herself. A feminist critique shows how marriage does not allow for Mrs. Mallard to feel and sense of freedom or individuality. Bringing this inequality between genders to the forefront is one of the main goals of feminist literary criticism.
Chopin shows through Louise Mallardr’s musings that marriage where one person has more control than the other can make it harder for couples to love each other, because even though Mrs. Mallard feels for husband, her desire for her freedom is stronger. Even though this is years ago the same situations still occur today. The flaw in the marriage of the Mallards was definitely classified as an imperfection of life. It is very unfortunate that marriages have to be that way. In the time of the Realism period the marriages went wrong because the man thought he was superior to the women. Mrs. Mallard mirrors a reflection of womenr’s independence who dream of getting out of the role playing Im just a wife.
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