Argue that ""The story of an Hour" dramatizes the theme that domesticity saps a woman's spirit and physical strength.

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akannan's profile pic

Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

In my mind, the previous post was accurate on all points made.  The most especially telling was being able to go back to the text and ensure that sufficient documentation from it is present in your work.  I would pay attention to the moment when Louise goes upstairs.  Pay attention to how Chopin describes what happens in her mind and how she reconfigures her attitudes and understanding of what life will be like now that her husband is conceived to be gone.  I would pay attention to how Louise begins to envision her life, choices, and her state of being once the weight of domesticity has been perceived to be lifted.  Another section to focus on is the descent down the stairs and how she is physically described in this moment, contrasting with what happens when she finds out that her husband is actually alive.

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Doug Stuva | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Concerning "The Story of an Hour," the argument you're seeking to make is an easy one. 

The woman is a housewife, her spirit has been broken, and she has a heart condition.  That should about do it. 

All you need is some details. 

The husband is a fine, normal husband who does not mistreat his wife.  She has a fine, normal domestic life.  At first, she reacts as one would expect when she hears that her husband is dead.  Your argument depends on her situation being a normal, domestic situation.  If she's the victim of abuse or anything like that then your argument fails.

Once she has time to think about her husband's death, the woman understands that his death sets her free.  You will want to document from the text her elation and excitement at being set free from domesticity, and contrast those feelings with what she is escaping from.

Finally, you'll need to use quotes that detail the wife's heart condition.  Establish that she is already ill before she hears of her husband's death, and then dies from the shock that he is still alive and her freedom is lost. 

Technically, you may not really be able to make a logical connection between her heart ailment and her domestic role as a woman and wife in a patriarchal society.  But the condition is present in the story, so you can still use it. 

Be sure to cite evidence from the text.  Generally, use at least one quote for each point you make, although sometimes you'll need more.  Use short, spot quotes and don't allow the quotes to dominate your own ideas. 

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