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Repression of Women in the 19th Century

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Repression of women in the 19th century

women have been treated as second class citizens. Therefore, women were forced to face many problems. Because of this women were repressed. At that time, the Napoleonic Code stated that women were controlled by their husbands and cannot freely do their own will without the authority of their husband. This paper shows how this is evident in the "Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin and " A Rose for Emily" by William Faulkner. In both stories, the use of literary elements such as foreshadowing, symbolism, and significant meaning of the titles are essential in bringing the reader to unexpected and ironic conclusions.

In “the story of an hour”, the theme of the story is about freedom and confinement of women; “Women were to be seen but not heard” says Kate Chopin. "The wife cannot plead in her own name, without the authority of her husband, even though she should be a public trader, or no communicant, or separate in property." (Kreis 1), which is represented in the story as the reluctance of the main character that is Mrs Mallard to step out of her marriage and in the 19th century, divorce was not yet an option as it was still considered as taboo in society.

Kate Chopin’s stories had a concept in many ways even it was written in the early 19th century like her stories showed that she was trying to imply that women’s can do just as good without the need of a male figure guiding them through life. The story of “The story of an hour” (Kate Chopin) represent contemptuousness of the way women were treated in relationships and society by simply referring to the character as Mrs. Mallard an appendage of Brently Mallard her husband, then when she was free, she was referred to as Louise, her first name. Chopin was trying to say that marriage makes women repressed Nurhayatti 3 and "bends the will" (55). Even though marriage does bend the will of the woman in general to fight for their rights.

The late 19th century is considered as the one of the worst time for women. At that time of history Divorce was not even an option for married couples, so they were forced to stay married even if they were unhappy about it. Through Kate Chopin’s character that is MRS Mallard we were able to see partly how women were treated at that time and got to understand why she wasn’t that sad with the death of her husband. “Free! Body and soul free!” says Mrs. Mallard (Chopin 55) which can be interpreted as how Mrs. mallard felt with the news of the death of her husband, she felt free with no male domination saying “Free! Body and soul free” showing her independence from the controlling husband. We can also see that her sister in law says “Louise, open the door” (Chopin 55) Louise is her maiden name before marriage which is a representation that marriage causes the oppression of women. “And yet she loved him-sometimes” says Mrs. Mallard (Chopin 55) shows MR. Brently Mallard was not that bad of a husband as by this quote, we could understand she didn’t hate her husband and perhaps loved him maybe not a lot but love was there at the first place. But her real life lasted for one hour only during her whole life when she knew that her husband was dead. She went to her room and looked out the "open window" (Chopin 54). This represent that deep inside of her she was feeling freed from all the repression she was bearing from this wedding. The doctors said that she died from “A heart attack—of joy that kills” where in fact she died because she

“A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner is all about of the life a woman named “Emily Grierson” who lived in small town in Faulkner’s fictional city, Jefferson, Mississippi, in the fictional southern county of Yoknapatawpha and Emily is described as mentally unstable during the story as she was found to be sleeping with her dead boyfriend for years and was caught only after her death. The “Rose” in the story title means the chaos and death in the story, chaos in her life due to death of first his father and later on of her lover whom she killed.




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