Silent Image of Marital Suffering in Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hourâ€: A Reading of the Female Psyche

Prabhakar Upadhyay


“The Story of an Hour†is a short story that explores the female psyche in a marriage. The story portrays a lady whose husband has died recently in an accident. The social norms expect wailing and sobbing over death. Chopin chose to be silent about the exact nature of the protagonist’s marriage, yet, the protagonist’s dilemma and momentary exhilaration in the death of her husband suggested that she was living a life of unhappiness. This story does not reveal the nature of the relationship between the husband and wife. But, the implication of silence goes beyond the expressed content of the story. A writer uses silence as a literary device to enhance the effectiveness of the text. Silence is revealed sometimes through characters where readers find breaks, gaps or pauses in their speech as in Beckett’s Waiting for Godot. Sometimes, it is used by a writer to hide crucial information from readers. For instance, Chopin indicates in the story about the trouble but does not say explicitly. Readers are left to guess the exact nature of the protagonist’s marriage. She desires freedom and feels it momentarily after the death of her husband. It is not the question of whether her husband loved her or not. The matter of interrogation is why did she feel like that? This paper investigates the psyche of the protagonist in “The Story of an hourâ€. It enquires how does Chopin use silence to reveal the loss of female individuality in a marriage? In this study, silence denotes something hidden or unspoken. 


feminism, Chopin, genderisation, silence, female psyche

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