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Kate Chopin's The Story of an Hour Essay

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In the late 1800s and early 1900s, gender roles were very specific. It was a male dominant society and women were considered subordinate; therefore, it was difficult for women to break free from their existing roles. Also in this time frame, classism, or discrimination based on class, existed. Louise Mallard, the protagonist in Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour,” and Emily Grierson, the protagonist in William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily,” are both characters living in the post-Civil War era, struggling to free themselves from the constraints society has placed upon them. Louise Mallard and Emily Grierson both lack the freedom to control their own lives because of societal reasons. In “The Story of an Hour” and “A Rose for Emily,” Kate Chopin and William Faulkner show us that their characters, Louise Mallard and Emily Grierson, both have an experience of loss that makes them understand their oppression.
Kate Chopin creates Louise Mallard as a character in the nineteenth century who experiences conflicting emotions regarding to her marriage. In her writing, Chopin does not mention anything bad about Louise’s husband, Brently Mallard. In fact, the text suggests that Brently is a good husband to Louise and their relationship is not a problem. This is why when Mrs. Mallard receives the news that her husband is on the list of people who were killed in a train crash, she grieves. She isolates herself in her room, stares out an open window, and then involuntarily begins to feel emotions other than sadness and devastation. Feelings of joy and freedom consume her and she becomes internally conflicted. Chopin does much in the text to show that Louise is not a horrible and egotistic person for feeling happiness at the death of her husban...


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... Emily, to learn and understand the actuality of their oppression.



Works Cited

Chopin, Kate. “The Story of an Hour.” The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature.
Ed. Michael Meyer. 9th Ed. Boston: Bedford, 2012. 15-16. Print.
Faulkner, William. “A Rose for Emily.” The Compact Bedford Introduction to Literature.
Ed. Michael Meyer. 9th Ed. Boston: Bedford, 2012. 84-90. Print.
Jamil, S. Selina. "Emotions in The Story of an Hour." The Explicator 67.3 (2009): 215+.
Literature Resource Center. Web. 12 Apr. 2014.
West, Ray B., Jr. "Atmosphere and Theme in Faulkner's 'A Rose for Emily'." William
Faulkner: Four Decades of Criticism. Ed. Linda Welshimer Wagner. Michigan State University Press, 1973. 192-198. Rpt. in Short Story Criticism. Ed. Laurie Lanzen Harris and Sheila Fitzgerald. Vol. 1. Detroit: Gale Research, 1988. Literature Resource Center. Web. 17 Apr. 2014.



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