Point the same, with a paralyzed inability

Point of View and Feminist Themes in “The Story of an Hour” In every story one has read or will read, there is always a certain perspective given from a character’s point of view. Whether it be a first person, third person, or omniscient narrative, we are all told a story from one of these perspectives. In Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour,” she uses the third person limited omniscient narrative with feminist undertones through her main character, Louise Mallard.

This is done so brilliantly that it captures the reader’s attention and appeals to one’s sense of sympathy, making the reader sympathetic to Mrs. Louise Mallard in all aspects of her range of emotions and slightly feministic undertones. Through this perspective focused on Mrs. Mallard, it seems almost as if she is telling us the story. However, the use of the limited omniscient perspective really adds to the story and appeals to the reader much more so than if Kate Chopin were to have Mrs.

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Mallard written in a first person narrative. By this method of writing, she appeals to the voyeuristic nature of human beings and reels us in as readers. In “The Story of an Hour,” we find that Mrs. Mallard’s husband, Brently, was supposedly killed in a train accident. Brently Mallard, it is revealed, is listed first among the list of the dead. It is her sister, Josephine, who half reveals the news of Brently Mallard’s death. She, along with Mr.

Mallard’s friend Richards, allude to his passing in implied insinuations on the subject. Upon the discovery of the news, Chopin writes: “She did not hear the story as many women have heard the same, with a paralyzed inability to accept its significance. She wept at once, with sudden wild abandonment in her sister’s arms,” (574). This sentence is more powerful given the point of view than if Mrs. Mallard were herself to simply describe the situation to us in her own words, such as: “I cried in wild abandonment in my sister’s arms.

” We are thus presented with a more vividly detailed picture of the moment. Mrs. Mallard’s character is one from the Victorian Era, one in which women were commonly to be “seen and not heard,” and were commonly oppressed. Upon the news of her husband’s death, she is permeated with an overwhelming sense of grief. Soon, she goes to her room alone and sits, and as she sits, she notices the light blue patches of the sky and knows: “There was something coming to her, and she was waiting for it, fearfully. What was it? She did not know; it was too subtle and elusive to name. But she felt it, creeping out of the sky, reaching toward her through the sounds, the scents, the color that filled the air, ”(575).

As we learn about it through limited omniscient view, our excitement builds with Mrs. Mallard’s as Chopin finally declares what is coming. It is when Mrs. Mallard whispered quietly under her breath, “Free! Free! Free!” (575) ; that we are presented with our first tangible proof of feminism in this text. Soon thereafter, she gains her composure and realizes that she will cry at the funeral, “…when she saw the kind, tender hands folded in death; the face that had never looked save with love upon her… …But she saw beyond that bitter moment a long procession of years to come that would belong to her absolutely. And she opened and spread her arms out to them in welcome,“ (575).

She is so exulted in her newfound self-assertion as a single woman that she exclaims: “Free! Body and soul free!” (575). She had just received news that her husband.

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