Her we see resentment emerge even in death. Love was an "unsolved mystery" (636) for Louise and she had no problem giving up the "possession of self-assertion which she suddenly recognized as the strongest impulse of her being" (636). Louise appreciates a life without love because love is nothing but a hindrance. Contemporary women simply cannot relate to marriage being so much like an ownership deal. Women enjoy marriage and love and men have learned to recognize the potential of women outside the home. Women look forward to marriage because they know they are not sacrificing anything when they do it. Marriage is more like a sharing of two persons rather than a husband lording his power over his wife. In short, something is wrong when the death of a spouse brings joy...
Through this observation, we see how important a sense of self is for every living being. Louise did not know who she was until her husband died and her happiness was such that losing it would simply kill her.
Louise symbolizes the type of oppression that destroys lives. This kind of oppression is odd because husbands probably did not intend to make their wives feel like prisoners but power is a strange thing and it trumps love in almost every circumstance. Modern women are freer than their eighteenth-century sisters because women like Chopin saw unfairness and reacted to it. Change never comes without some kind of conflict but that conflict is generally good when it brings about social change. "The Story of an Hour" is not just the story of an hour but it is also the story of a generation that suffered and fought its way out of oppression.
Chopin, Kate. "The Story of an Hour." The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Lauter,
Paul, ed. Lexington D.C. Heath…
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