The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin

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To what historical issue is "The Story of an Hour" responding?

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Kate Chopin's short story, "The Story of an Hour," responds to the feme [femme] covert laws from the Victorian Age. This legal term literally means "concealed woman." Coverture gave a husband rights over the property of his wife that she possessed before they were married. Moreover, the wife was also deprived of her power to make contracts with other parties or to bring lawsuits as an independent person. 

At the beginning of Chopin's narrative, Mrs. Mallard suffers from "a heart trouble," which is repression caused by this feme covert law that has is part of a patriarchal society in which the husband exerts dominance over his wife. When she is told that her husband Brently Mallard has been killed in a train wreck, it is apparent that she has led a repressed life:

She did not hear the story as many women have heard the same with a paralyzed inability to accept its significance. She wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment, in her sister's arms. When the storm of grief had spent itself she...

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