Feminist ResponseWomen Were Human in the 19th Century
During the Women’s movement in the Progressive Era of the late 19th century, the domination and double standard treatment of women by a patriarchal society became the foundation for the works by many female authors including Kate Chopin. She wrote stories that did not portray her leading female characters as genteel or weak. However, she did place her characters in real life circumstances which included bad or unfulfilling marriages, lack of personal freedom and immoral situations. Essayist Lizzie May Homes stated “Woman has been considered too much as a woman, and not enough as a human being. The constant reference to her sex has been neither ennobling, complimentary, nor agreeable.” (Snodgrass) This quote reinforces that women are thought of as women, not humans. Just because women are female in sex does not mean that women are any less of a person. Even today, women are defined by gender and not considered equals to men and in the same situations women are treated differently than men. Both “The Story of an Hour”, 1894 and “The Storm”, 1899 by Kate Chopin support the idea of real women who lived in a society where they were expected to act and feel a certain way. Women were expected to deny their feelings and needs to that of their husbands. These two females characterize the unfulfilled and desperate images of women during this period of time. Chopin uses the theme of oppression and female independence to show that women were humans the 19th century society.
Even though, Kate Chopin, never claimed to be a feminist or a women’s suffragist but her stories were of a feminist nature. Chopin used her stories to express real female emotions and intellect during this time in history women were defined only as being wives and mothers. In the two stories “The Story of an Hour” and “The Storm” Chopin explores the relationships of two married women and shows that marriage is not always romance and happiness. She shows the reality...