The Theme of Freedom in the Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin
The Story of an Hour is a short story that follows the main female character through her experience finding out that her husband has died in an accident. Although this Kate Chopin took a more cynical approach to convey the message of possession men had over women during the nineteenth century, it is a work of literature that hits home with many of the social issues women faced, and continue to face. The most memorable and impactful aspect of Kate Chopin’s work is the emotional and chaotic journey it takes the reader on that mirrors the turmoil the women of the era faced on a day to day basis. The overwhelming sense of confinement is shown in the quote “A little-whispered word escaped her slightly parted lips. She said it over and over under her breath: ‘free, free, free!”.
This highlights the denial to self-expression Louise even instilled in herself cared to fully speak up for herself in both the literal and metaphorical sense. This work of literature was both a cautionary tale and a visionary tale for feminism all hidden within a story of cynical humor. The true strife faced by the women’s suffrage movement in the nineteenth century was displayed through Kate Chopin’s Character’s death that shortly followed the death of her husband. Although the character Louise’s husband death finally meant she would finally receive freedom she promptly died after, mirroring how although women in this era may escape the confinement from their marriage, they will not be free within society.
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The works of literature The Yellow Wallpaper and The Story of an Hour are both responsible for having a monumental impact on the women’s suffrage movement as well as making strides in literature inspiring many females to pursue self-expression through writing. Both short stories were written by females and had a main female protagonist. Although the stories differed in there plot one dealing with the loss of freedom through the “rest cure”, and the other dealing with new found freedom from death, both stories contain the overarching theme of confinement and loss of self-identity. The similarity of the stories even goes into the lives of the authors themselves that is reflecting into their writings.
The stories were written and took place in the nineteen hundreds which were very hard times for women when it came to the lack of representation for females in society. These stories displayed the social issues in the real world through the cynical storytelling, revealing the darker side to what everyday life was like for women during this era. The most striking similarities between Charlotte perkin Gilman’s story The Yellow Wallpaper, and Kate Chopin’s Story of an Hour is the message of female oppression they delivered, and the impact their literature had feminism, translating into the present day. Feminism as we know it today has been shaped and formed by the women in the past who use their Literature to take a stand and reclaim their own voice.