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Feminist Perspectives at a Story of an Hour Essay

Project id 1012465
Subject area Biology
Document type Essay
Words 2583
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Feminist Perspectives in a Story of an Hour A Woman Far Ahead of Her Time, by Ann Bail Howard, discusses the nature of the female characters in Kate Chopin's novel's and brief stories. Howard suggests that the girls in Chopin's tales are yearning for liberty and feel torn between the feminine duties of a married woman and the freedom associated with self-reliance. Howard's opinion is right to a point, however, Chopin's female characters can be viewed as more radically feminist than Howard realizes. Rather than simply being torn between independent and dependant versions of her character, "The Story of an Hour's" Mrs. Mallard actually rejoices in her newfound freedom, and, in the culmination of the narrative, the job of the woman has actually been raised above that of the guy, suggesting a considerably more radically feminist reading than Howard cares to persue. Much of what Howard has to say about Chopin's protagonists is right. Her criticism operates from the standpoint that "marriage, stated Chopin's entire world, was the goal of each woman's lifetime; service to her husband and her children her duties, passionlessness and submission her supposed virtues, selflessness her everyday practice, and self sacrifice her pleasure" (1). Mrs. Mallard definitely lives in a universe where these gender values abound. Chopin, for instance, explains Mrs. Mallard's face as one " whose lines bespoke repression" (439). This is obviously a direct reference to the submission Mrs. Mallard has had to yield until the patriarchy thus far. She's always had a "powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have the right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature" (440). Her husband's will is describ...

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