Jo Jo Essay

1078 words - 4 pages

During the 1880's, the peak of the Victorian age, Katherine Chopin's scandalous writings dealing with love, sex, and marriage challenged the existing supremacy of man. In "The Storm" and "The Story of an Hour", Chopin writes of infidelity and the desire for womanly freedom to encourage women to speak out against their husbands, think for themselves, and live independently. "The Storm," a story filled with sexual energy and passion, contrasts the reserved expression of feminine sexuality that existed during Chopin's time. As well, in "The Story of an Hour," Chopin describes Mrs. Mallard's death to demonstrate the breakdown of life because freedom and life does not co-exist. Together, the two stories describe the lack of individuality women possess and suppression women face in Chopin's time. Seeing how women financially depend on men in the 1880s, they are obligated to do certain domestic tasks to ensure they have protection, food, and shelter. These obligations suppress women mentally and emotionally throughout life. Higher education and the public sphere, where men work outside of the home, is where many women of the nineteenth century desire to be. However, they cannot leave the strains of the home and church because they are not as educated as men (Kern 32). Instead, women are shaped from birth with direction on how they should speak, act, dress, and marry. Every facet of women's lives have been "controlled by some kind of male authority, first with fathers at birth and then the husband possess control" (Moriarty). In "The Storm," Katherine Chopin presents feminine sexuality through the imagery of the storm. The storm, a manifestation of mother-nature, expresses feminine qualities. The power of the growing storm increases the drive for women and Calixta to attain her sexual desires from whenever she was younger with Alcee. Chopin refers to Alcee and Calixta's previous attraction by mentioning how "he had kissed her and kissed and kissed her" (Chopin 771). Alcee and Calixta could not do anything about their desires for each other before because Calixta was too young and a virgin. Society of the 1880s does not accept the yearning the two felt for each other or female desire for premarital sex. However, the increasing power of the storm outside makes Calixta cast aside the constraints of society's views as she commits adultery when "she clasped his head [with one hand], her lips lightly touching his forehead; [and] the other hand stroked with a soothing rhythm his muscular shoulders" (Chopin 771). Calixta's sexuality restricts her marriage and society's views of women when Chopin describes the housework and Calixta's husband's Sunday clothes, which alludes to society in the form of the church. In the 1880s, the church keeps Calixta pure and innocent, but the storm outside continues to increase, reflecting the sexual tension between Calixta and Alcee (Moriarty). As Calixta and...

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