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A De Constructive Approach: On Kate Chopin's "Story Of An Hour" And Yannis Kitsos' "Penelope's Despair"

1764 words - 8 pages

"The Story of an Hour"Derrida's deconstruction states that the meaning of the story/text includes what is left out of the text or ignored or silenced by it. Because deconstruction is an attack on the very existence of theories and conceptual systems, its exposition by Derrida and others purposely resists logical definitions and explanations, opting instead for linear presentations based on extensive wordplay and puns. Therefore, the text may offer several interpretations that are also valid and it is the reader's task to analyze then the elements into which there may be subtle or explicit connotations/denotations.Extending the philosophical excursions of Nietzsche and Heidegger, Derrida ...view middle of the document...

Such situations may include an abusive relationship, or an unhappy marriage, as this story suggests. In Chopin's story although the circumstances might lead the reader to believe that Louise's husband's death would cause her great pain, ironically, when she hears the news, she feels a great sense of relief. This suggests that death may not always cause grief. Louise's characteristics add to the theme of this story in several ways. One of her characteristics is her youth. This characteristic is important because it is symbolic of a fresh, new start at her life of freedom due to the death of her husband. She has her whole life to live by herself. She will be free to do what she wants to do, when she wants to do it. There are a lot of symbols/lines that allude to the element of freedom in this story thereby greatly emphasizing the "privileged" status that has just been given to her. The spring day symbolizes a new beginning of her life in which she is free. Spring is the time when living things propagate and are reborn. Likewise, Louise believes she will become productive, energized and reborn. Louise has her whole life of freedom to look forward to. A second symbol is the open window in her bedroom. The window suggests that there is no material object standing in the way of her new life. There is a clear passage between her life of captivity to her life of freedom. Her husband was the only person holding her back, but now that he's gone, she's able to look forward to the future when she can live her life for herself. It should especially be noted that the place of women at these times were quite strict and confined almost always to that of a housewife. The explicit emphasis on freedom then is a repression which Louise (or Kate Chopin for that matter) wants to fulfill.One of the important binary opposites then that we may encounter and analyze is the opposition of marriage - freedom in the story. Louise struggled with her feelings about her marriage for years. Louise thinks "what could love, the unsolved mystery, count for in face of this possession of self-assertion which she suddenly recognized as the strongest impulse of her being." She admits that she did love Brently, but often she did not. On the other hand, the story suggests that Brently was completely content in the marriage and assumed that Louise was too. This conflict is reflected in Louise's internal struggle. When she realizes that Brently is alive, she must die. This is the only way she can win the freedom she was struggling for within herself. She dies because he is alive, he is ultimately responsible for her death. With all of the exposition of personality and character of Louise we can surmise that marriage was something that wasn't that of a necessity for her or at least not at that point or perhaps if she were to give up her treasured freedom it should be for someone who she truly loves "most of the time" (as oppose to her love for Brently which was not often applicable). His...

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