Kate Chopin

Essay by Steph1787University, Bachelor'sA+, December 2003

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Kate Chopin's short stories often include male and female gender roles that are sometimes challenged by the female characters in the stories. Most of her short stories, including "Desiree's Baby" and "The Story of an Hour," show females that undergo a transformation from weak and dependent on their husbands to stronger, more independent women. Desiree from "Desiree's Baby" and Louise Mallard from "The Story of an Hour" are examples of women changing throughout the story.

In "The Story of an Hour", the reaction of Louise Mallard to the death of her husband. When Louise learns her husband has died in a train accident, "her response is atypical". She cried upon hearing the news, readily accepting it. The author also examines the two "selves" of the main character: "the social self - Mrs. Mallard - and the private, female self - Louise". Louise feels completely free when she is alone in her room after hearing about her husband's death..

After her husband's death, Louise realizes she will "eventually revel in the 'monstrous joy' of self-fulfillment," a freedom she has not know prior to her husband's

death. However, the irony of the story is that Louise's husband has not died. In fact, when he comes home to Louise, his arrival ultimately kills her.

Kate Chopin presents the theme of women's lack of power and inferiority in a patriarchal society in her short story "Desiree's Baby." Along with much of her writing, Chopin presents a feminist view in this work due to growing up in a home that lacked a male influence (Ker). Chopin explores "Armand's power over women" and, more specifically, his power over Desiree to incorporate this theme into the story.

Desiree represents the inferior role of women in the patriarchal society in which she...