Critical Lenses In The Story Of An Hour By Kate Chopin

Each person reacts differently when faced with the loss. The individual response to loss is what matters most. Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” describes a situation in which the wife is extremely happy at the thought of her husband’s death, but is shocked to discover that her husband is still living. The woman then dies of disappointment. This shows Mrs. Mallard is not able to escape his oppression and fate. Mrs. Mallard makes loud claims that she is now free of her husband’s oppression and body, but she is soon forced to give up and have her freedom taken away. This story presents a feminist perspective on the topic of female oppression, as well as a Marxist lens that shows how power can be attained. Even though Kate Chopin didn’t explicitly state she was feminist, one can analyze The Story of an Hour through a feminist perspective. The theme of women’s suppression illustrates the feminist lens. It is clear that Louise Mallard’s reaction upon learning of her husband’s death is a source of concern. However, she doesn’t seem to be surprised by how thrilled she is to have the news. She doesn’t spend too much time grieving. Instead she feels liberated and this makes her feel more comfortable. While her husband loved and supported her, he also made all the decisions for them, which left her feeling trapped. She wanted to be able to choose how she lived her life. She was not sad to learn about her husband’s death, but she was disappointed to discover that he is still alive. Louise Mallard wanted freedom and to be free from the belief that others can dictate their will. “What was love and mystery worth when faced with this sense of self-assertion that she suddenly saw as the most powerful impulse in her being?” Her reality was then shattered as her husband came out of the woodwork alive. She understood that love could not be substituted for self-assertion or possession. Her life was long. But then she realized that hope wasn’t a substitute for self-assertion or possession. Louise finally stopped suffering after hearing about her husbands health.

The Marxist view of the Story of an Hour is also possible. This lens explains how logic, social, and political obstructions can be created when one has no control over their lives. When Mrs. Mallard learns her husband is dead in a train accident, it is shown through the Marxist lens. Her joy is short-lived when her blissful meditation ends when her husband walks in the door alive. The Marxist lens describes power in the government and in a small number of people like husband and wife. She saw that she would have a long, secure possession for many years. (Chopin 20). According to the quote, even though she loved her husband dearly, she felt trapped in her world and didn’t mind letting him go. She had already experienced the power and freedom of her husband, and she couldn’t resist being taken from it. She gave up and let go.

These lenses can help us understand how life was for women in the mid 1800s and how it has changed. Women had to learn to be better and to give up their freedom to men. Even though they may have achieved their freedom, it is still difficult for women to be independent and not feel inferior. These perspectives are crucial because they show us how difficult women liberation was. Many laws and actions today support women feeling freed from the shackles of their relationships.