A Critic’s Opinion on “Story of an Hour”

July 17, 2018 General Studies

Julie Moore, author of an article on Kate Chopin’s, “Story of an Hour,” believes that Chopin was not a feminist, even though her story gives the reader the impression that women long for freedom, and that they are oppressed. I agree with Moore that Chopin was not a feminist, because Louis Mallard all throughout the, “Story of an Hour,” resists the urge to celebrate her husband’s death even though it has given her the freedom to live for herself once again. In the story there are instances where Mrs. Mallard shows excitement and joy when she discovers that she is free once again.

I do not believe that this part in the story shows that Chopin is a feminist, but rather a common feeling that both genders would get upon the point of finding out that their husband or wife has died. Julie Moore believes that marriage causes couples to despise being in union, and ultimately end up longing for freedom. Kate Chopin, according to Moore, “Can be viewed as a writer of women’s rights although she does not declare herself a feminist by any stretch of the imagination” (Moore).

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In an article called, “Kate Chopin’s “Story of an Hour” and the Roles of Women,” Julie Moore says that, “Kate was neither a feminist nor a suffragist. She was nonetheless a woman who took women extremely seriously. She never doubted women’s ability to be strong.” Mrs. Mallard resists the excitement and joy approaching her due to the fact that she is free, when in the story it says, “She was beginning to recognize this thing that was approaching to possess her, and she was striving to beat it back with her will” (Chopin 39).

The quotation shows why Moore believes that Chopin was not a feminist. Mrs. Mallard knew that she was free, but did not want to rejoice about it, knowing that she had freedom at the cost of her husband’s life. I agree with Moore’s opinion that Chopin was not a feminist, otherwise Chopin would have expressed her feminist views through her fictional character Louis Mallard, and instead of resisting the feelings of joy and excitement, Mallard would have let the feelings overtake her. Instead, the narrator says, “She knew that she would weep again when she saw the kind, tender hands folded in death” (Chopin 40).

Louis Mallard’s husband was a kind, and tender man, allowing readers to see that she was not oppressed, and that she longed for freedom because she had a different understanding of what freedom was.

Although in, “Story of an Hour,” Louis Mallard says, “Free, free, free!” (Chopin 39), followed by the narrator saying, “Her pulse beat fast, and the coursing blood warmed and relaxed every inch of her body” (Chopin 39), I do not believe that it is enough to label Kate Chopin a feminist. The suggestion made is that unlimited choices lay ahead of Mrs. Mallard. Also, a sign of reawakening within her is made when it is expressed that her pulse beats fast and blood flows through every inch of her body.

Julie Moore comments that, “she herself is coming alive again in the knowledge of possibility” (Moore), which is a feeling that any person would get after breaking free from a commitment, giving me more reason to agree with Moore that Kate Chopin was not a feminist. Chopin, according to Moore, “Saw freedom as much more a matter of spirit, soul, character of living your life within the constraints that the world makes [or] your God offers you, because all of us do live within constraints” (Moore).

In the, “Story of an Hour,” it says something very interesting that caught my attention, “There would be no one to live for during those coming years; she would live for herself. There would be no powerful will bending her in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature” (Chopin 40).

In this quotation Kate Chopin clearly shows that she is not a feminist, by making the statement that man and woman both impose rules on each other that make them live an uncomfortable life together. Moore says in her article, “Mrs. Mallard and Kate Chopin, far ahead of their time, make a statement about marriage and the relationships between men and women and the nature of marriage itself. Not that Mrs. Mallard did not love her husband but that the institution of marriage itself made women subservient and men too” (Moore).

Marriage itself is what makes people desire freedom, according to Moore, because once a person says those sacred marriage vows, that is basically the last time one lives for themselves, and must start living for the other too.

Julie Moore believes that Kate Chopin, author of, “Story of an Hour,” is not a feminist even though Chopin, throughout the story, tells of a woman who is experiencing the excitement and joy of newfound freedom. I agree with Moore’s belief because throughout the story, Mrs. Mallard resists celebrating the fact that she has been given the opportunity to start her life over again. Although there are instances in the, “Story of an Hour,” where Mrs. Mallard shows excitement and joy after finding out that she is free, and able to live only for herself, I do not believe that these parts of the story are enough to label Chopin a feminist.

I believe that both genders would get ideas and feelings, such as the kind that Louis Mallard had, after finding out that they are no longer part of a long term commitment. Moore has the belief that marriage itself makes women and men subservient, suggesting that this is the reason Chopin writes about freedom, and not because she is a feminist. I agree with Moore’s belief about marriage and the effects that it has on both men and women, for after a certain period of time, imposing rules on each other make one despise unity and desire freedom. Therefore I agree with Moore’s belief that Kate Chopin was neither a feminist nor a suffragist, but nonetheless a woman who took women seriously, such as in the case of Louis Mallard in, “Story of an Hour.”


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