|Type of paper:||Essay|
|Categories:||Gender Literature Kate Chopin The Story of An Hour|
Gender Roles in The Story Of An Hour
Sometimes writers deliberately focus on the temporal context to engage readers and better show certain historical features. For example, the temporary accents help to understand the main character's motives and the general socio-ethical tendencies of a certain period of world history. So this is why "The Story of An Hour" by Kate Chopin is so important to world literature.
The fact is that this short story is based on classic gender stereotypes and biases towards women. Kate Chopin conveyed in great detail the inequality of the sexes and the role of spouses in marriage. The plot events take place in 1894, a time when women were led by men and did not have such rights and opportunities as in our time. In particular, young girls had to obey the will of their fathers and marry men whom they barely knew.
The story of Louise Mallard, the protagonist, is quite tragic. The fact is that this woman found out about the death of her husband, Brently Mallard. Like all wives, she felt the pain of loss and retired to her room to deal with her emotions. But soon, she felt a kind of relief. Fortunately, her husband did not beat her during her lifetime and was not a tyrant, like many others. But something deep inside Louise told her that now was the best time for her.
In part, any reader can understand the protagonist's feelings thanks to the expressive words, "Free. Free! Now I'm finally free!" This feeling will not be so vivid for modern girls since the story takes place over a hundred years ago. In those days, women unquestioningly obeyed the will of their father, brother, guardian, or husband. Any girl was destined for the role of an obedient wife, mother, and housewife.
Imagine a world in which you cannot make decisions for yourself. Gender inequality was a key issue in the late 1800s and beyond. Women couldn't say no to their fathers or husbands. Any dissent was unacceptable. That is why Louise Mallard felt the freedom and desire to live the way she wanted. This woman realized that now her role in gender games is no longer secondary. For her, this meant the beginning of a new life without obligation, because earlier she was an integral part of her husband and blindly followed his instructions.
Readers will surely appreciate the elegance and emotional context of the protagonist's transformation. Louise felt the bitterness of loss, and this was a normal feeling. But as soon as she was alone in her room, she was surprised to feel the change. The fact is that Kate Chopin perfectly conveyed the spirit of the era and how gender inequality influenced women's self-identification. The first emotional stage is bitterness, and the second is a surprise.
Louise felt a spirit of freedom and unexpected relief, albeit for a short time. So this is how the writer emphasized the hopelessness of women who lived at that time. It is worth noting that the writer elegantly used metaphors and symbolism, focusing on the girl's thin white hands. So this shows the powerlessness of generations and how little the role of women was at that time. Chopin also skillfully portrayed gender stereotypes. Centuries ago, women were considered weak, unreasonable, and even helpless creatures who were uncommon to make decisions or cope with difficult tasks. That is why the so-called patriarchy was a key feature of the era. It was believed that only a man could make the right decisions, and women should follow every direction. That is why marriage meant that the wife should obey her husband's will and not challenge any decisions.
Readers should pay attention to Chopin's description of 1894 and the helplessness of women. Louise's excitement came from the opportunity to say no to society. The fact is that a woman could feel a certain degree of freedom only after her husband's death. Thus, the widow could dispose of his property or make any decisions without prior approval. In a way, Louise became an adult in the eyes of society and could live the way she wanted. At some point, the protagonist even remembered how she did not approve of some of her husband's decisions but was forced to obey. Therefore, it was important for her to feel the so-called "wind of freedom" and finally take a break from serving someone else.
One of the most iconic moments in the story is when Louise finds out that her husband is alive. He entered the house, thereby killing the hope for women's independence. For the antagonist, this was a real shock and destruction of all desires. In a way, Louise's disappointment can be compared to the driver’s who was the leader, but in the end, they came to the finish line last. Mental pain and the realization of one's helplessness became a trigger for the protagonist. That is why Louise died almost instantly.
By the way, the community perceived the death of his wife as an accident due to strong emotional shock and joy. But such a feeling could hardly have appeared in Louise's heart. The writer deliberately used such a dramatic trick to emphasize the importance of freedom for the protagonist and the bitterness of missed opportunities. It was the awareness of helplessness and despair that caused death. Louise could not come to terms that her hopes were not destined to become a reality.
Modern society has taken a huge step towards equality, and women have been able to get what they deserve. Fortunately, today "The Story of An Hour" is perceived as an echo of the past. Nevertheless, this short story perfectly shows that gender inequality must be eradicated permanently. Society does a lot of the right things every year, which is a way in the right direction. Nevertheless, humanity should not forget that the past should not repeat itself, and equality is the key to harmony.
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