The Traces of Feminism in the Story of an Hour, a Short Story by Kate Chopin

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When I first read Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour" I was confused as to why the main character, Louise, was happy her husband was dead when he had been so loving and loyal, but after seeing the word "feminist in the given prompt all the pieces suddenly clicked. It is a feminist story, because given the time period: no husband, or rather no man to whom a woman "belonged", meant freedom.

Now, you may be asking yourself, "what inspired Chopin to write feminist stories?" Perhaps it's because Chopin was alive, and married, during the time period her stories are set in, Chopin also, like Louise, lost her husband and then went on to write many great stories afterwards. "The Awakening is an example of one story, but more importantly it was her last and greatest novel, which challenged the traditional roles and properess of women during that time. So, Chopin has some experience with not only writing feminist stories, but also knowing what it's like to be married during more traditional times.

Shifting more towards "The Story of an Hour", I'm sure that those, like myself, that are oblivious to when something is feminist or not unless it is stated directly wondered why Louise was happy her husband was dead. I mean, he was kind and loving and loyal, a model husband one might say. That's only because her husband wasn't the problem; the fact that she was married to him was. Because women back then were treated like objects, something to be owned, and when married it made them more like decorations and less like spouses to their husbands. She thought about freedom and hoped to live a long life when she thought about her now dead husband, because the best thing that could come from their tie breaking was her freedom and she hoped to hang onto that feeling of freedom for as long as she could. And at the very end, when her husband walked through the front door and she expired the moment she saw him; death granted her the one thing her dead husband had offered and what was snatched away by her still very much alive one. Something spurred on by her heart disease; an escape.

In conclusion, Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour" is a feminist story. Because those dated traditions she includes in it made men free of obligations. And women belongings, and Louise Mallard's story was far from an exception. Chopin herself may very well have experienced the same feeling of being owned and was set "free" by the death of her husband. And while many things have changed since then and now. Especially with marriage and female roles. Feminism is still necessary and inequality still relevant. Yes, things are different, but the elimination of a problem is much different than the evolution of one. And even though "The Story of an Hour" isn't up to date with the gender roles of the 21" century, that doesn't mean it's any less feminist or important.

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The Traces of Feminism in The Story of an Hour, a Short Story by Kate Chopin. (2022, Oct 06). Retrieved April 18, 2024 , from

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