I chose the thesis: "In "The Story of an Hour", Kate Chopin uses characterization  to express a theme that circumstances can numb or deaden our true feelings."  How can this be expanded on?I need...

I chose the thesis: "In "The Story of an Hour", Kate Chopin uses characterization  to express a theme that circumstances can numb or deaden our true feelings."  How can this be expanded on?

I need ideas about how to prove this thesis statement true.

Asked on by jrushton4

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M.P. Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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The circumstances that numb and deaden the true feelings of Louise Mallard in "The Story of an Hour" stem from her unhappy marriage, from having to fulfill the tasks expected of a woman of her age, and from an overall dissatisfaction with life. Moreover, the overwhelming sensation of suppression that Mallard feels further renders her weak and susceptible.

Kate Chopin makes use of these facts to characterize Louise Mallard, first and foremost, as a woman who "was afflicted with a heart trouble". This information immediately places Louise in a very delicate situation, coming out as a fragile individual whose condition make her a danger to herself.

Chopin also makes Louise analytical to the core. Within this capacity of analysis Louise is able to see into her potential future; one without her husband in her life, and one in which she is at liberty to enjoy life in whatever fashion she desires. However, Louise is not a libertine who seeks for her wild day out. On the contrary, Chopin characterizes her as a lover of life, nature, and the simple things. This leads the reader to question Louise's nature; why would someone who is so happy with so little not try and find happiness within her marriage? Why is she really rejoicing over her husband's death?

This is what makes Louise a very complex character. It is true that her marriage was unhappy, but it was not miserable. It is also true that, at times, Louise had felt some type of love for her husband.

And yet she had loved him--sometimes. Often she had not. What did it matter!

And it is also true that, by all accounts, Louise lacked nothing in her life to make her want for riches or a better status. It is the mere fact that she needs to retire to a life of self-contemplation, and that she cannot achieve this, what drives this immense impulse which she says drives her entire soul

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!

Hence, Chopin effectively characterizes Louise as a woman whose sole desire is psychological liberation and emotional freedom. It is the innate wish she has had to suppress throughout life. This suppression of emotion has numbed and deadened her true feelings.

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