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A Story Of An Hour, By Kate Chopin

1734 words - 7 pages

Throughout time literature has been used to explain and to explore the very fiber of the human condition. Modern media has joined in on using its ability to reach a vast majority of people to show the Oppression of a second class citizen as shown in Kate Chopin’s “A Story of an Hour”. The modern media that can be seen expressing views related to the views expressed in Chopin’s short story is music. The song “Oppression” by Ben Haper shines the light on the oppression of people. The archetype “the oppressed citizen” is one that can be seen throughout history and society. Chopin uses the literary devices of imagery, symbolism, and dramatic irony to highlight the role of Louise Mallard. The oppressed citizen hopes and dreams becomes a faded memory of the things they could not achieve as seen in the work of Chopin.
Chopin used the archetype of “the oppressed citizen” to show the state of society during the time she wrote “A Story of an Hour”. During that time women were the oppressed citizen throughout Louisiana as stated in the Cultural context, the patriarchal code favored the husband leaving many women at the mercy of their husbands and without a voice. Mrs. Mallard was like many women during this time completely depended on her husband and constricted by the laws during that time.
The role that Mrs. Mallard is required to fulfill in Chopin’s short story may seem simply but after thinking deeply about what role she plays in the story her requirement became deeper. Her role throughout the story is to enlighten the reader to the hardships many women were facing during that time. During this time women were the oppressed citizen, leaving them without a voice which is made clear in the statement,” the laws of Louisiana have their roots in the Napoleonic code, the civil code enacted in France in 1804 to regulate issues property, marriage, and divorce.” (Kirszner and Mandell 223) This law left many women including Mrs. Mallard feeling trapped, which is seen the moment when she quietly recited the words, “Free, Free, and Free!”(Chopin 224) she found freedom in her husband’s death. Mrs. Mallard fulfilled the role given to her character to grab the attention of the reader and to enlighten them from the very first sentence of the story when it’s said that,” Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with a heart trouble.” (Chopin 223) the statement about her leaves the reader curious and this statement also paints the picture of a fragile woman.
The significance of the role that Chopin gives Mrs. Mallard is to be a mirror to reflect the image of women during that time period. She uses the entire story as catalyst, to show society what many women were feeling and thinking during this time. The main Character Mrs. Mallard seems to reflect what society thought of women, during that time. Society viewed women as a weak and needy person that needed a man to care and in some cases think for them. Chopin showed the evolution of Mrs. Mallard from the moment she learned of her...

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