Story of an Hour analysis
Why this theme is important in the story and what is the writer’s purpose in using it? See page 190 in our textbooks for a definition and examples of themes.
The story of an hour Speaks about the theme of freedom. The theme is important in the story because the story looks at the lives of women in marriage and the unseen chains that they find themselves in once married. Kate Chopin argues that marriages even though they are founded on love end up being the prison in which women are locked, and their independence is trampled.
In the story, marriage is likened to a tyrannical regime where repression and oppression are common. For example, marriages help women escape from societal judgment, scorn, and loss of marriage lead to heartbreak even though there is the joy of self-hood and self-fulfillment. However, there is a catch to freedom from the institution of marriage, which is the loneliness. When Louise left her marriage, she discovered herself the joy of self-assertion, however, was marked with fear and loneliness. The joyful self-acceptance in a male dominated world was short-lived as the society had their expectation of a woman and the heartbreak that eventually killed her. Kate ironically refers to freedom as a forbidden, and the unforeseen circumstances had to lead to liberty and independence until Brently Mallard returned.
Reader response criticism The Story of an Hour
How might what you cover in the story be important in our lives today? In other words, why does this particular art form matter in the real world?
The theme of freedom and independence of the women is a major concern today as there are feminist, women’s movements, as well as special interest groups. Women want love and marriage but are not ready for the preconditioned marriage including loss of freedom. As Louise Mallard is grieving the loss of her husband Mr. Brently Mallard, she is happy self-debating about the self-fulfillment she will enjoy in the absence of her husband. Women believe that beyond the ideological structures of marriage, she would not be subjected to the repressive effects of love. However, the self-harm guaranteed by the lack of repression of marriage could not be compared to the oppressive forces of marriage as surfed the final blow of death (Foote 85-89).
The most important lesson learned from the story is that the forced such as biological determinism, social conditioning, as well as marriage have their limitation but their absence may be detrimental to people’s lives. If a person happens to forego or overcome the preconditions and limitation set by the society, the freedom and independence can corrupt absolutely. Louise did not die because she saw he supposedly dead husband, but bemused of the thought about the fleeting liberty and the end of her autonomy because of her husband's epiphany got to her. The lesson also hails the importance of rules, laws, and regulation as well as the societal expectations, as they are the fabrics the holds the society together and keeps people alive because the independence that "Free! Body and soul free!" is corrupting, but then the freedom can be short lived as the realization of liberty and the loneliness could break a woman (Wehner 271-274).
Foote, Jeremy. "Speed That Kills: The Role Of Technology In Kate Chopin's -The Story Of An Hour". The Explicator 71.2 (2013): 85-89. Web.
Wehner, David Z. "Awakenings: The Story Of The Kate Chopin Revival.Ed. Bernard Koloski". Women's Studies 43.2 (2014): 271-274. Web.
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