The feminist approach to literature, which began in the US during the 1960s as women were seeking greater standing in the world, primarily deals with the supposition that men have dominated all positions of power and responsibility thus resulting in an inequality of women in all facets of their lives. This misogynistic view of women has resulted in the perspective that women have been subjugated to some degree and that literature itself reflects this view or attitude. It has been suggested that male writers, and female writers as well, reflected this view and that a successful and happy marriage is difficult to find in literature. Also, as you read other stories, people have noted that men have the important and powerful jobs, run the family household in which the wife can be seen as a common laborer, and men dictate the course of actions in stories.
In "The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin, marriage is viewed somewhat as a "prison" in which the wife, hearing the husband has allegedly died, becomes "free" momentarily, but when the husband arrives at the door, her freedom is short-lived and she dies knowing that she will never be free of her husband. This can be seen in which nature and the environment are described as she is married and when she thinks she is free from her husband. The view that marriage represents some kind of jail or prison for women is prevalent in many works of Chopin.
As you analyze the story from a feminist perspective, think of the follwoing questions:
1) What si the relationship between husband and wife?
2)What is the experience of both husband and wife (what do they do)?
3) Is there any exploitation of women in the story?
4) is there any subjugation of women in the story?
5) What is the division of labor in the story?
6) what is the economic relationship between husband and wife?
7) What are the perosnalities of the men and women in the story?
8) Do men "seem" superior"?
9) Is the doctor correct is his diagnosis of how the woman died? What does this say about his assumptions throughout his life?
10) How do the male and female characters treat each other?