An Hour of Freedom, An Eternity of Oppression
Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour" illustrates a woman's ironic reaction to the death of her husband. This piece of literature is the story of an hour of Mrs. Mallard’s different and troublesome emotions after her husband’s death, which further explains her own death when she realizes that her husband is still alive. Chopin utilizes the elements of fiction such as characterization, symbolism, and imagery to make a feminist approach regarding Mrs. Mallard’s, the protagonist of the story, point of view about freedom.
Chopin has carefully created Mrs. Mallard as a round character with the purpose of describing the oppression that marriage imposed over women during the nineteenth century. Emphasis about Louise married identity is given in the first sentence of the story, for she is identified as "Mrs. Mallard". Mrs. Mallard is constantly attached to her husband identity even to the point she is almost treated as a subject without real importance. For example, Louise is described mostly as "she" throughout the story rather than described with her real name. Mrs. Mallard’s lack of identity changes when she is finally considered "free, free, free!"(15) when her sister calls her by her first name. However, Louise’s excitement of changing from being nobody to being somebody only last a few moments. Unfortunately for Louise, she once again becomes a “wife” when Brently Mallard is in the “view of his wife”. During the nineteenth century, marriage was considered an institution, which men had the primary role of the family as well as the power to control and oppress woman's actions. Because all women were expected to act the same, they lacked from achieving a unique personality. From the feminist perspective, the lost of identity when marriage meant that women were not considered important, and so they did not have an individual status in society.
The usage of symbolism is another element of fiction that gives the story...