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"The Story of an Hour" Kate Chopin

  • Date Submitted: 10/09/2012 03:17 PM
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"The Story of An Hour" Kate Chopin

Mallard and Nuttel are the main protagonists of "The Story of An Hour" by Kate Chopin (1894). The ideas that have been expressed in the story help to shape the general idea about the society that created the characters of Mallard and Nuttel. In my paper I will attempt to prove that Kate Chopin explores feminine selfhood in a patriarchal society. The story reveals the reader the heroine’s spiritual journey to freedom that eventually became the main topic of the “The Story of an Hour.”

The main peculiarity of this story is Chopin’s specific presentation of societal problems. In this story, Chopin presents us with a picture of standardized society. Living in complicated and complex often hampered the development of an individual. The same situation occurred with the development of Louise Mallard’s whose spiritual awakening was triggered by the false news of her husband’s death in a train accident. The author reveals the story of Louise, a pioneering feminist, who tries her best to realize herself in this life. As a result, Louise Mallard is constantly searching for selfhood and freedom. One day a person has found herself to be a victim of masculine forces that prohibited her from normal realization in this society.

One of the researchers who decided to delve into the essence of Chopin’s writings was Lawrence I. Berkove. He was one of the few persons who suggested the following argument to the readers: “Louise is sick, emotionally as well as physically” (Berkov 156). The researcher also questioned the emotional well-being of Louise, who was described as someone who is not thinking clearly and coherently. Berkov even mentioned the fact that Louisa might have been suffering from an “early stage of delusion” (Berkov 156).

It is hard to state whether Berkov was right or not. Still, one thing is definite: Chopin’s exploration of feminine selfhood and freedom is one of the main topics of her story. The idea of feminism as well...


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