Role and Treatment of Women Essay

Pages: 2 (803 words)  ·  Style: MLA  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Sports - Women

Role and Treatment of Women

Chopin's women: In search of love and freedom

Kate Chopin's novels and short stories all present the position of women in American society as one that is constrained, rather than improved, by marriage. Chopin was a 19th century American author who addressed the inequalities of her society long before women had gained the right to vote, or even the right to hold property as married women. In Chopin's stories, men, rather than seeing women for who they truly are, project their own fantasies and needs upon the female body. This is seen in "The Story of an Hour" when Mrs. Mallard, who believes her husband is dead, is actually delighted at the prospect of freedom rather than saddened by it. Men have controlled her behaviors for her entire life. She has never been allowed to make her own decisions. In Chopin's novel The Awakening, the central protagonist Edna Pontellier, is frustrated by her marriage and seeks salvation in an extramarital affair. But relationships with men do not provide Chopin's protagonist with freedom, only self-actualization provides salvation.

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Marriage and relationships with men become a kind of a 'testing ground' of the true nature of how women are viewed in society. When a woman becomes married, notions of male chivalry, female romantic happiness and fulfillment through wedded bliss are unmasked. The racism and obsession with female purity in Desiree's society is revealed in Chopin's story "The Father of Desiree's Baby" when the adopted title character marries and gives birth to a child that apparently reveals her true non-white origins. Desiree is rejected by her husband Armand as a result of this revelation. Similarly, happiness within marriage proves to be impossible for Edna and Mrs. Mallard.

Essay on Role and Treatment of Women Assignment

Just as the male institution of marriage fails to fulfill wives, the male institution of medicine fails to diagnose the problems of the central female characters in Chopin's tale. The life of the protagonist "The Story of an Hour" has her life limited not just by marriage, but also by male doctors who assure her that her heart is so weak, she cannot enjoy any bear the type of excitement that makes life worth living and her husband claims as his male privilege. After Edna comes back from her life-changing vacation to Grand Isle, her husband calls a doctor to diagnose the source of her discontent, but can find no physical reason for… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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Role and Treatment of Women.  (2009, May 25).  Retrieved November 28, 2020, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/role-treatment-women/66292

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"Role and Treatment of Women."  25 May 2009.  Web.  28 November 2020. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/role-treatment-women/66292>.

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"Role and Treatment of Women."  Essaytown.com.  May 25, 2009.  Accessed November 28, 2020.
https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/role-treatment-women/66292.