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The Breakdown Of Relationships In Kate Chopin's Selected Short Stories

3094 words - 12 pages

A relationship is a means of interactions with the other person as two complete individuals coming together to share experiences. In the "The Awakening and Selected Stories of Kate Chopin" by Kate Chopin there are relationships that are difficult to apprehend, and in that, they contain many problems which may or may not lead to their failure. Some relationships fail, some succeed, and some just seem to limp along somewhere in between. Why relationships fail or succeed may seem like a great mystery to those involved. The factors in the short stories of Kate Chopin, "The Kiss", "The Story of an Hour", and "The Storm", do in fact lead to the failure of relationships. When coming together in a relationship, husbands and wives usually develop their own natural, human plan for marital happiness. The couple's separate plans are based on the unique personalities and personal differences of each partner, including different family influences, role models, books, and often-different church experiences. Because their plans for marriage happiness are different, conflict usually results. By examining the factors that contributed to the failure of relationships in the short stories, it will become evident that relationships do tend to fail.In the late 1800's, marriage was comparable to a master-and-slave relationship. The role of the woman in the marriage was minimal. The woman's place was in the house, caring for the children, cleaning the house, and doing other "womanly" tasks. Chained to their husbands, marriage became prison to many women; the only means of breaking free from these bonds being the death of a husband. In Kate Chopin's fictional short stories, "The Story of an Hour," and "The Strom," show examples of the lack of freedom for women's role in society. Mrs. Mallard lives for an hour, experiencing rebirth into freedom and death when that freedom is lost, while Alcee's wife reveals her happiness and the joy of freedom as she learns that her husband will not be coming home for a while. Mrs. Mallard learned that her husband had thought to have been killed in a rail road disaster and she went into her room to contemplate. Mrs. Mallard's emotions are so subtly alluded to. As Mrs. Mallard sits in the chair, staring blankly out the window, the reader suspects her true feelings. The narrator observes that, "There were patches of blue sky showing here and there/through the clouds that had met and piled above the/other in the west facing her window." Already, the reader recognizes the blue sky as a sign of hope. It is a sign of hope emerging from a heavy gloominess, on to the hope of freedom and happiness in her life. Mrs. Mallard's suspicions are confirmed as she sits in her chair whispering to herself, "Free! Body and soul free!" During a time in which she would be expected to be filled with grief, Mrs. Mallard had found happiness. It is obvious at this point that Mrs. Mallard has been liberated through her husband's misfortune. Mrs. Mallard sees the...

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