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Introduction To A Womans Sacrifice English Literature Essay

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English Literature
Wordcount: 1217 words Published: 1st Jan 2015

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Women often suffer an unfair amount in their marital lives and often in their marital lives, they live oppressed lives. In "Madame Celestine's Divorce," Celestine's progression towards freedom gets rejected due to societal expectations. Likewise, in "The Story of an Hour," a woman dies of a heart attack when she finds out that her husband is alive and she cannot live a free life. Lastly, in "The Kiss," Nathalie kisses a man after she is married to another man and soon learns that she cannot have both money and looks at the same time. Through oppressive diction and situational irony, Chopin conveys that although some women seek personal happiness or freedom outside of their marriage, societal expectations inhibit their ability to achieve their own personal desires.

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Primarily, the societal expectations women must comply with, frequently hamper their freedoms. For instance, when Madame Celestine thinks about divorcing from her husband, her family depicts themselves to be "Plumb agains' that divo'ce" (196). The word "plumb" denotes a something heavy and connotes a negative, encumbering feeling revealing that the society - in this case her family - does not agree with her desire to be free. The word "agains'," denotes an opposition towards something and connotes disapproval. "Agains'" also illustrates the resistance; the society puts on Celestine to not get divorced. Likewise, in "The Kiss", when Nathalie agrees to marry Brantain, she describes Brantain as a "rather insignificant and unattractive [but] enormously rich" creature and she exposes her desires to have money and looks at the same time (225). "Insignificant" denotes unimportant and also connotes negativity. Likewise "unattractive" denotes something unpleasant to see and connotes something or someone bitter. Together these words portray how Nathalie views Brantain - the love of her life. The word "enormously", denoting greatly exceeding the common size and connoting something vast, reveals that Nathalie marries Brantain not for love, but only for his money. The marriage between Nathalie and Brantain portrays irony as marriage exists as an institution under which a man and a woman establish their decision to live as a loving couple. Nathalie's decision to marry Brantain expresses her love for money. These descriptions reveal that society expects a woman to marry a rich person and not get divorced because women should be dependent on their husband for everything; thus impeding her personal desires.

Furthermore, although society expects women to remain faithful to their husbands, they may still contravene society by indulging in their own personal pleasures and liberties. For example, when Louise Mallard finds out that her husband supposedly dies allegedly in a railroad accident, she murmurs, "Free! Free! Free! ...Body and Soul Free!" and thinks "if it were or were not a monstrous joy that held her" (219). The repetition of the word "free" suggests how oppressed she feels abiding by the rules society had in place for her. The joy of realizing she will be independent comes to her lips as she repeats the word "free" over and over again. She sees her life being absolutely free of conformity to society and the independence, of doing anything she pleases, the central aspect of her life. As her husband is dead, she does not have to bend over backwards to listen to everything he says. She has the freedom to do what she could not do during her husband's liveliness. As society expects a woman to remain loyal to their husband, Mrs. Mallard repeating "free" over and over again exemplifies her breaking away from society. Her actions are appropriate looking at her position as a wife in society. "Monstrous," denotes something that is frightful or hideous, connotes something immense, and illustrates the unlimited freedom she felt once she found out the news about her husband's death. Similarly, after Nathalie marries Brantain and sees Mr. Harvy at the reception, "Her eyes [were] bright and tender with a smile as they glanced up to his; and her lips looked hungry for the kiss which they [were] invited" (227). "Bright," denotes shiny and sparking, and connotes happiness whereas "tender," denotes something soft and connotes delicate. Together these words reveal Nathalie's true attraction for Mr. Harvy. Although, she married Brantain for money, her physical attraction towards Mr. Harvy would be ironic as she abandons her husband at the reception. Likewise, "hungry" describes her lips suggesting the yearning attraction she did not find with Brantain. Society expects a woman to remain devoted to their husband. As Nathalie breaks that promise and gets attracted to Mr. Harvy, she thus disobeys the society. Both women - Mrs. Mallard and Nathalie - find their true attraction and freedom while breaking societal expectations. Society expects a woman to confine to their husband as society cannot bear the fact that a woman, who has no social power in society, can deal with the burden of being alone.

Finally, women who indulge in their own personal freedoms may get precluded by the society and live oppressed lives. For instance, when Nathalie agrees to marry Mr. Harvy, she realizes, "Brantain and his million left." and that "a person can't have everything in this world; and it was a little selfish for her to expect it" (227). "Left," denotes leaving, "selfish," denotes devotion to caring only for oneself, and "little," denotes small in size. Together these words connote a negative depiction, illustrating Nathalie's life as being oppressed by her decision to marry Mr. Harvy. The irony of Nathalie expecting "everything in this world" suggests her egotistical nature to be the happiest woman who abides by the rules of the society. As she does not find a man who has both money and looks, she has to give up "Brantain and his million" and live a troubled life with Mr. Harvy. Similarly, when Mrs. Mallard receives the news of her husband's death to be false, she falls to the ground and when help arrives, they reveal that, "she had died of heart disease - of joy that kills" (219). "Died" and "kills," both which denote a life being taken away and connote a lethal description, suggest how happy she feels before the news of her husband being alive reaches her. Although dead, Mrs. Mallard illustrates her position in the society oppressed and her freedoms repressed. The irony of her dying due to the "joy that kills" also suggests the hopelessness she feels during her marital living. Both these women get precluded from society. Mrs. Mallard dies "of joy that kills" and Nathalie gives up "Brantain" for an attraction towards another man. These descriptions advocate the idea that women live burdened lives with no escape after their marriage and often have the chance to get excluded from society because of nonconformity.

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Chopin through her various stories of similar intent, reveals that women who seek personal freedoms outside their marital lives often get rejected by the society and live confined lives in which they have an urge to become free. Women living troubled lives cause them to looking for freedoms outside their marital lives. If women get to live trouble - free lives, they would be contented and pleased.


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