Women Roles in “The Story of an Hour”

After reading The yellow wallpaper, The storm, and The story of an Hour, we can see that women roles today have changed dramatically. We changed politically, socially, and economically and it is making a great impact on our society today. Many years ago, women were controlled by men and did not seem to have any sense of freedom. The story of an Hour by Kate Chopin is a perfect demonstration of what types of unfair social issues women were faced with. The story of an Hour also gives us an Insight into what women were thinking during these hard and unjust times. Women were expected to be passive and delicate in the 19th century, and Louise’s heart condition reinforces this societal expectation. Her physical weakness encourages the people around her, like Richards and Josephine, to stifle her emotions and become overprotective of her. After finding that her husband dies, Louise’s desire to be alone with her grief is the first indication of her movement towards freedom and independence, especially in regards to the handling of her own emotions, in the idea that she is weak, though she is physically exhausted by sobbing. As said in the passage, “the resurgent prominence of plant life, the return of birdsong, everything”, embody an approaching revelation, and the uncertain signification of it all slowly overwhelms Louise. By opposing this unnamable feeling, she begins to fear its indications all the more. Making it notable that the sensations seems to reach out to her from the sky and air, hinting it’s vast strength. It later talks about how Louise’s friend, Josephine, later worries that Louise will make herself sick by staying in her bedroom and begs her to open the door. Rather than becoming sick, she comes to realizations that her new life will be full of freedom. As said in the story

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“There would be no one to live for her” during those coming years, she would live for herself. There would be no powerful will bending hers in a blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose upon. Whether it be a kind intention or a cruel intention made the act seem no less of a crime as she looked upon it in that brief moment of understanding. Just as in the nineteenth-century society’s nature, instead of helping her during her emotional process, it interferes with it. Demonstrating to the reader’s that the people around Louise are more concerned about controlling her emotional response rather than her emotional response itself. Later in the story, her husband comes back and that kills her mind and thoughts, which then caused her body to physically react and kill her because she then again loses her freedom. She will probably be more free in death rather than real life. Women were not supposed to work, drink, smoke, vote or do anything significantly valuable that represented they had a brain. They were just supposed to get married and be dependent on men. Soon women grew tired of society’s laws and took matters into their own hands. They started to rebel against marriages and even started doing the same things men were to do. We went from having no voice at all to having slowly changed our looks and that my friend caused a change politically. Even though women were not very interested in attaining a franchise or could no vote during those times, many assumed that they were essential apolitical beings. That being said, it was after the war that many women sought a more expansive political role for themselves. Moreover, men welcomed women’s support for the war effort and sometimes even after the war ended. Though things were starting to unravel for women, many became more active and faced severe logical and ideological obstacles. In the short story “The Storm”, written by Kate Choplin, Chopin’s revolutionary tendencies could be attributed to her disillusionment with the American ruling class, in which she was born into (Skaggs).

The metaphor “The Storm” is intended to reflect Calixta’s sub-conscious sexual longing as a result of her inadequate conjugal relationship with her husband. Just as the climatic storm takes the character by surprise, the storm of emotional sexual fulfillment takes her by surprise. The words “a discomfort that causes her to loosen her collar” talks about the physical discomfort caused by oppressive climatic conditions as well as the psychological discomfort caused by an oppressive marital life. I would like to think that the storm, in this case, is the suffering and ideological obstacles thrown at the characters in political views. It was always coming through and ripping things apart during an emotional and important time (political women times). Times such as fighting for women rights to vote and work. Women used to get thrown in jail, but that never stopped them. They continued to find ways to change the law even in jail, by doing things such as starving themselves until something was done or even breaking windows in the House of Commons.

This injustice and daring of the suffragists exploded gender types. The bravery showed won women admiration from not only other women but men too. Which caused an actual change in politics (women’s right to vote), homes (marriage wasn’t a big deal anymore), workplace (women got to work), and education (women taught and learned just as equally as me). Another short story which was written by Charlotte Perkins Gilman called “The Yellow Wallpaper”, was another perfect example psychological insights used to critique the position of women within the institution of marriage, especially within her time.The mental restraints placed upon the characters and narrator are what ultimately drive one insane. They are forced to face their fears in order to preserve what they find as happiness. For Gilman, the nineteenth-century middle-class expectations of a female and active male showed that it was guaranteed that women were considered second-class class citizens. The story reveals that gender division had the effect of keeping women in a childish state of bewilderment which was preventing their full development. Were as john’s assumption of his own wisdom and maturity leads him to misjudge, patronize, and dominate his wife, all in the name of “helping” her. So that leaves the narrator to act like a child, unable to stand up for herself without seeming unreasonable or disloyal.whcih caused her to retreat to her obsessive fantasy, for her own minds sake. So even after things changed societally, economically and politically, they never actually fully changed. We still have to fight for things such as equal pay or the sickening of rape culture. So although men and women are supposedly seen as equals, sexism still exists today, but women are definitely seen as stronger and more intelligent than back in the day. 

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Women roles in "The story of an Hour". (2022, Sep 05). Retrieved October 3, 2022 , from
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