Story Of An Hour And Women Essay

, Research Paper

Throughout history the roles of women has changed dramatically. Women have been

enslaved, put down and their rights taken away from them. Women have slowly but

surly evolved into the individuals ones sees today in public office, law firms

or even the five o? clock news. However this evolution did not occur over

night, it took time and can be made apparent in places one might not think to

look. The roles of women in short stories have changed from a typical voiceless

human being to one that dominates a story. In the short story ?The Story of an

Hour? by Kate Chopin, the character Mrs. Mallard demonstrates a transformation

that is necessary for a woman to have. The character Mrs. Mallard defies the

traditional role of women in the 1800?s. In the beginning of the short story

Mrs. Mallard is depicted as a weak and fragile woman who suffered from heart

trouble. When the news of Mrs. Mallard?s husband?s death was made apparent,

Richards, a family friend and Mrs. Mallard?s sister were very delicate in the

way they broke the news to her. Once the news was broken to her, it seemed as if

Mrs. Mallard would act to her husband?s death in the traditional way ? she

wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment, in her sisters arm? (Chopin 11).

However, Ms. Mallard defies the traditional role of the women by overcoming the

feeling of sadness and instead replacing it with the feeling of joy. Mrs.

Mallard realizes that her husband?s death should not be seen as an atrocity

but instead as an act of freedom. This is made apparent by the words Mrs.

Mallard uttered to herself in the room; she gradually lets the words ?free,

free, free!? escape from her mouth. This act relinquishes Mrs. Mallard from

the subservient role she played for her husband and into her own person. To some

Mrs. Mallards reaction to her husband?s death may have seemed distasteful but

to others it is seen as a step in the right direction. Mrs. Mallard is not

joyful about her husband?s death but joyful about the newborn freedom she

receives with the news. This is shown by her thoughts later on ?she knew that

she would weep again when she saw the kind, tender hands folded in death?

(11). However in the same paragraph her husband?s feelings about her are made

obvious with the line ??the face [Mr. Mallard?s] that had never looked

save with love upon her? (11). One can assume that Mr. Mallard never really

expressed his love towards his wife that left her with these feelings inside.

Mrs. Mallard?s reaction is just a woman freeing herself of the oppression her

husband has placed on her. Through the course of the story, Mrs. Mallard

developed from a weak individual to someone who just gaining a sense of self.

Mrs. Mallard started looking into the future, a future that she would live for

herself ?She saw beyond that bitter moment a long procession of years to come

that would belong to her absolutely. And then she opened and spread out her arms

out to them in welcome? (11). Mrs. Mallard turned from powerless to someone

who had absolute power in all of about 10 minutes. The character of Mrs. Mallard

exhibits the conscious and subconscious feeling that women hold towards men. The

reaction Mrs. Mallard has to her husband?s death should not be viewed upon as

appalling or viscous but as liberating. Mrs. Mallards feeling that ?there

would be no one to live for during those coming years; she would live for

herself? is the feeling women should have while there husband are alive, women

should not have to wait for a man to die in order t gain some sense of

independence (11). When Mrs. Mallard discovers that her husband is indeed alive,

she dies of heart disease. The doctor diagnosed her death as ?a joy that

kills?, however one can assume her death was provoked by the realization that

her newfound freedom was suddenly gone. In the short story ?The Story of an

Hour?, the main character Mrs. Mallard, develops into her own person in a

short matter of time. The death of her husband made her realize that she was

living life for the wrong person; instead of living it for herself she was

living it for her husband. Throughout the story Mrs. Mallard transcends from

Mrs. Mallard to Josephine, her name. With the surprising sight of her husband

came the realization that she was about to transform from Josephine back to Mrs.



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