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The Story of an Hour - Short Story

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...."The Story of an Hour" is a short story centering on a young married woman of the late nineteenth century as she reacts to a report that her husband has died in a train accident. An American Writer Kate Chopin's short story Story of an Hour(1894) describes the series of emotions Louise Mallard endures after hearing of the death of her husband, who was believed to have died in a railroad disaster. Mrs. Mallard suffers from heart problems and therefore her sister attempts to inform her of the horrific news in a gentle way. Mrs. Mallard locks herself in her room to immediately mourn the loss of her husband. However, she begins to feel an unexpected sense of exhilaration. "Free! Body and soul free!" is what she believes is a benefit of his death. At the end of the story, it is made known that her husband was not involved in the railroad disaster and upon his return home Mrs. Mallard suddenly dies.

Society in late nineteenth century expected women to keep house, cook, bear and rear children--but little more. Despite efforts of women's-rights activists such as Lucretia Mott, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and Susan B. Anthony, women still had not received the right to vote in national elections by the century's end. Moreover, employers generally discriminated against women by hiring them for menial jobs only and paying them less than men for the same work. The Story of an Hour hints that Mrs. Mallard's husband--perhaps a typical husband of his day--dominated his wife.

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