The Things They Carriedexample Essay
In Kate Chopin’s short story, “The Story of an Hour”, a strange mix-up results in the temporary liberation of the main character, Louise. Louise is informed that her husband has been killed in an accident, although he had actually not been near the tragedy. The reaction that Louise has to her husband’s untimely demise is, inwardly, one of great joy and excitement. This story and the unexpected turn of events and how the story unfolds symbolically tells the tale of the oppression of women within the stereotypical role of wife that every female was cast into in the late 1800s when this story was written.
Louise is informed that her husband has been killed in a tragic accident, and immediately she is aware of the lack of genuine sadness over his death. Louise excuses herself to her bedroom, and mulls over her feelings only to find that the thought of being on her own excites and pleases her. Obviously, the lack of regret over her husband’s death shows that Louise was not happy in her role as housewife. Louise alludes to her feelings of imprisonment within her marriage when she is alone in her room. “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! ’” Obviously, Louise feels as though she is a prisoner to her husband and her obligations as his wife.
The idea of being able to live the rest of her life without these obligations is a happy thought for Louise. The purpose of any woman in the late 1800s was to be a wife and mother. In order to be a “good” wife, one must submit to her husband’s authority. Louise obviously lived a life that was not fruitful, which is implied by the fact that Louise and her husband did not have any children together.Louise’s contempt for the way that her husband has treated her is exemplified further when she admits, “There would be no one to live for during those coming years; she would live for herself.
There would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature”. At a time when a woman was meant to serve others, not being able to bear children and create a family with her husband is almost reflective of the inability for Louise to fill the stereotypical role of her time.Louise’s discontent with her marriage and society’s views on what a “good” wife should be shine through when she admits that she isn’t sure if she really even loved her husband. Louise says, “And yet she had loved him–sometimes.
Often she had not. What did it matter! ” Louise was certainly not the only women of her time to resent the binding and oppressive ties of marriage, and the societal demands placed on women. Hearing of her husband’s death, in a sense, gives Louise a rebirth.She is no longer a slave to the rules of society, and is symbolically reborn into the freedom that she yearns for through her husband’s death. The reader is given this impression when Louise retires to her room, and says that, “…the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life”. Louise’s new life, as a widow, is symbolically represented by the new spring life she sees in the trees below.
In a time period where women were forced to fit into the role of a traditional housewife, Louise represents many women who struggled with the demands of their marriage.Louise’s excitement at the prospect of a new start, without having to submit to the oppression of a man are symbolically and literally presented in “The Story of an Hour”. Ironically, when Louise’s husband walks through the door of their home, obviously unharmed, it is Louise that meets her demise. This is the ultimate symbol of the escape from masculine oppression that is presented in this story, representing that the only escape that Louise had from her unhappiness was death. Louise’s death was the ultimate freedom from the life that cause her so much discontent.