Figurative Language In The Story Of An Hour

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In the short story, “The Story of an Hour” Kate Chopin highlights the widely assumed notion in the 1800s that a women’s sexual pleasure leads to hysteria. Kate Chopin is a well known author of short stories and novels including “The Story of an Hour” and “The Awakening.” In the story, Josephine accuses Mrs.Mallard (or Louise) of this notion. Behind closed doors Mrs.Mallard experiences sexual pleasure and this concerns Josephine who quickly draws harsh conclusions on her sister. But, sexual pleasure does not cause hysteria which was the notion in the Victorian era. This notion soon became non-existent with the decline of hysteria. Josephine’s conclusions of Mrs.Mallard being mentally ill would be a common assumption of many Victorian Era family…show more content…
The historical connection in “The Story of an Hour” surrounds Josephine's accusations toward Louise. Shortly before Josephine comes up to Louise’s room, Louise seems to be performing some action in the confinement of her room. Since, Kate Chopin wrote stories in the 18th century to be blatant about sexual actions was looked down upon. Therefore, Chopin uses figurative language and vivid descriptions to showcase sexual actions in a different manner. The figurative language used within the story is an oxymoron. “She did not stop to ask if it were or were not a monstrous joy that held her” (Chopin 2). By this Mrs.Mallard experiences an overwhelming happiness by being free from her husband, but it is “monstrous” due to the guilt she is feeling from being happy. This shows the emotional feelings attached to the sexual pleasure Louise experiences which Josephine then says those actions will…show more content…
Mark S. Micale, a historian with a Ph.D. focuses on European history and in “The Decline of Hysteria” he said, “…hysteria as a culture-bound syndrome resulting from Victorian sexual confinement, emotion oppression, and social suffocation”(Micale 5). This means that hysteria during this time was caused because of sexual isolation/desire and emotion alienation. Josephine could have seen the sexual desire arise while Mrs.Mallard was inside the room, which would lead her to believe in hysterical tendencies. Despite the causes of hysteria, many other illnesses had similar causes and misdiagnoses was common during the Victorian era. This was due to limited technology and knowledge. For example, syphilis and epilepsy were commonly misdiagnosed as hysteria. But not until the 20th century that a blood test was developed for syphilis and brain wave recordings for seeing epileptic seizures (Micale 5). Before these discoveries nothing could differentiate between syphilis, epilepsy and hysteria. So, many families members just like Josephine directly associated what they saw to hysteria. In the 20th century, the diagnosis of hysteria became less common as new diagnostic systems allowed for better

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