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Aboarding The Hour Express: Two Way Ticket, Please

1907 words - 8 pages

The lady yearns for the moment when her husband leaves. She peeks out of her window and watches as he departs, without a single goodbye. She turns back to look at the room filled with emptiness and despair. The walls speak nothing but conformity. Despite the years of entrapment, the lady always looks forward to the few hours she is left alone. She values this time; during this time she is not dictated by the power of others rather she is aware of her very own power. She hides her true emotions and she feels the way society expects her to feel. Many marriages today are often disguised to please society. They are disguised as something entirely different of actuality. In “The Story of an Hour,” Chopin presents the idea that a marriage is judged by what society makes of it, and not so much the reality by using symbolism, figurative language, and setting to illustrate.
Kate Chopin was born Kate O’Flaherty on February 8, 1851 in St. Louis, Missouri to well-known Eliza and Thomas O’Flaherty. Kate began to attend The Sacred Heart Academy at the age of five. The Sacred Heart Academy, a Catholic school, was the place in which Kate learned greatly about the culture of the French. Shortly after her arrival at The Sacred Heart Academy, Kate’s father dies. With the absence of her father, Chopin was then raised by her mother, grandmother, and great grandmother. She developed a powerful bond with them as they all taught her so much growing up. Many years later Chopin graduated from the Academy and met Oscar Chopin. They soon married and started a family. They led a happy marriage and it was unlike many others during that time. Kate was quite the non-conformist. She behaved differently than any of the other women during that time. She lived freely and happily and she portrayed this sense in her novel, The Awakening. Twelve years into her marriage, her husband died and her mother died shortly after. Because of her losses, she was inspired to write. According to Tolentino, “The losses in Kate Chopin’s life had serious impacts on her views and writing. For example, her father’s death inspired her to write ‘The Story of an Hour,’ which was the imagined effect she thought it would have on her mother. Kate Chopin, raised in an unconventional and matriarchal Louisiana family, went against nineteenth century chauvinist society and used her own life experiences to embody her feminist views in stories like The Storm’ and ‘The Story of an Hour.’” Chopin continued to write a number a short stories and novels that were highly praised. Sadly, on August 22, 1904, Kate died from a stroke. However, her work is still viewed and admired by many today.
Chopin uses symbolism to illustrate the reality of marriage. For example, Chopin uses the staircase in the Mallard’s home to represent movement between heaven and hell. When she learns of her husband’s death, Mrs. Mallard ascends upstairs to her room. Even though she mourns the death of her husband she realizes the freedom she...

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