What is the central idea of "The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin?

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When considering the central idea of this story, it's important to also consider its historical context. In the late 1800s, women had precious few options for individualism, relying in great extent on the males in their lives to provide for them. Women weren't allowed the privilege of voting, they weren't considered worthy enough to be widely educated, and most could not gain substantial employment outside their homes beyond traditionally stereotyped roles involving cleaning and childcare.

In this story, Kate Chopin cautions her audience about the deadly implications of women forced to live unfulfilled lives in order to conform to society's constraints . Mrs. Mallard, recognized for most of the story only by her married title which links her to her husband, has been silently dying for years. She has looked with dread upon her husband and their possible remaining years together, longing for something more than being his caretaker. When she is finally given a taste of freedom, her heart...

(The entire section contains 4 answers and 900 words.)

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on February 13, 2020
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