Social and Cultural Aspects in The Story of an Hour
An independent woman, Louise Mallard, receives the news that her husband had lost his life in a tragic train accident. Louise cries dramatically, as many other women would. “She wept at once, with sudden wild abandonment, in her sister’s arms.” (Chopin, 15) Mrs. Mallard then went alone to her room. After the devastating news had the opportunity to sink in, she realizes that maybe this was a blessing in disguise. She saw beyond that catastrophic moment, placing herself in a time that was all hers. A new sense of like came upon her; she felt the real joy of freedom. “When she abandoned herself a little whispered word escaped her slightly parted lips. She said it over and over under her breath: “free, free, free!” (Chopin, 15) “Her feelings for Brently, however, suddenly seem less important than the prospect of her bright future of freedom.” (Evans, 2) Mrs. Mallard’s response to her husband’s death leads majority of us to believe that she was an “egocentric, selfish monster” (Deneau, 1). Some of us may even ponder whether she even cared for her spouse as much as we once thought.
Today the world is engrossed with pictures of independent women lining up to vote for the first time or for the first time in a long while but that hasn’t always been a privilege. Women were considered “second class citizens.” Throughout history, women have been battling the legal and social rights that men were allowed. There has been constant interplay for equal rights between the genders and between single and married women. Growing up for females has never been a simple task. Some women have not had the opportunity to fully reach their ambitions in life.
During the time of this story, 1894, culture had its own constructions on marriage and the treatment of women. Most of those who fought for women’s rights valued differences between women and men. The woman’s role has always been portrayed as domestic: she was the mother and homemaker, the source of love and honest guidance, while men were mainly in charge of all of the ‘dirty work’. Although, many women strongly believed that if they had access to education and training that they could achieve just as much as the male figure could. Unfortunately, they didn’t have much say in what they wanted; they were only expected to obey the male figure. One of Mrs. Mallard’s many responsibilities is to take care of the duties at home as well as answer to her husbands every request. She did not seem to dislike this until she saw what it felt like to be free of all of these duties. She realized that she would finally be able to live her life the way she wanted to. Mrs. Mallard is treated like she’s incapable of accomplishing the common tasks that everyday life hands us. Currently it is still common for women to be cared for by the male figure. With this explanation of women and their lives in the 1800’s and 1900’s, it makes more sense as to why Mrs. Mallard acts in the way...