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The Forbidden Fruit in The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin

Imagine something that makes you happy. Might it be a long-awaited meeting with a friend or an excellent mark for the exam? What about the death of the beloved husband? In “The Story of an Hour,” Kate Chopin tells about Louise Mallard, who dies of a heart attack when she figures out that her husband was not killed in an accident and is alive. A prevalent theme in “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin is women’s deprivation of freedom and independence. There are three examples from the story that illustrate this theme.

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The first instance where the theme of forbidden independence from man is exemplified in “The Story of an Hour” is in Louise’s exclamation: “free, free, free!” (Chopin 2). During the first minutes, Louise was weeping but later realized that it is a great pleasure not to belong to a husband. Undoubtedly, it will be wrong to claim that Louise did not love her husband. However, the belief in his death made her understand that now she could act as an independent person and live happily after the funeral. At this point, it is essential to notice that the “The Story of an Hour” was written at the end of the 19th century when the movement for women’s rights just emerged and was not as powerful as it is now. Even though it was customary for women to live in a husband’s shadow, Chopin shows that women nevertheless wanted freedom and independence.

The second example that illustrates the theme of the forbidden fruit of freedom could be found in the following quote: “What could love, the unsolved mystery, count for in the face of this possession of self-assertion which she suddenly recognized as the strongest impulse of her being!” (Chopin 2). The keyword of this sentence is “self-assertion.” In the 21st century, women know for sure that they could work wherever they want and free to do whatever they want with their lives and bodies. However, this simple truth was not evident for women in the 19th century. The indicated quote depicts that Louise finally became brave enough to claim that she is an independent person who needs no man to be happy. One could also suggest that at precisely this moment, the widow comprehended that now she could worry about exclusively her comfort. At this moment, she ceased being a person whose primary responsibility was taking care of the husband and satisfying his needs.

The third example where the previously mentioned theme of deprivation from freedom is illustrated in the following quote: “When the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease —of joy that kills.” (Chopin 3). This phrase reflects that for the surrounding people, it was unthinkable that the woman could die because unexpected positive news about her husband deprived her of the joy of living a life she has always dreamed about. It seemed logical for doctors and Louise’s relatives that the only thing that makes a woman joyful is marriage. The mentioned sentence adds a touch of feminism “The Story of an Hour.” Besides, it shows that women became enslaved by prejudices and believes that the women are better off with a husband than without him.

To conclude, it should be noted that Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” is a peculiar narration that ridicules outdated views on women’s place in this world. This story’s critical idea is that women should not be treated as creatures that could not live independently from men. “The Story of an Hour” shows that the social standards deprive women of the greatest happiness of being themselves and fulfilling their potential.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "The Forbidden Fruit in The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin." June 24, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/the-forbidden-fruit-in-the-story-of-an-hour-by-kate-chopin/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'The Forbidden Fruit in The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin'. 24 June.

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