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Need help on a literary research paper - (Chopin's, "Story of an Hour")

Mar 10, 2008   #1
Hi everyone!

So, i have a literary research paper for my english class, and i chose to do it on KATE CHOPIN'S 'STORY OF AN HOUR'.

I am going to write the paper on the Theme of 'Freedom';howver, i need to cite 2 critics. I am just wondering if anyone can help me out with searching out a critic, or give me some advice/tips on writing this GEM of a paper.

Also, i am out of my home town at the moment, so i have no access to a library.



If you do not have access to the library itself, do you at least have online access to your school's library? You should have a user ID and password which will get you into the library's databases of scholarly journals. Failing that, I did find an article by Jennifer Hicks, director of the Academic Support and Writing Assessment program at Massachusetts Bay Community College, who discusses the theme of female self-assertion in "The Story of an Hour." It was published in Short Stories for Students, Gale Research, 1997. This is a book, of course, rather than a scholarly journal, but you can find the critique here:

Best of luck in your studies!


Sarah, EssayForum.com
Mar 10, 2008   #3

Currently, i have no acess to any library or database of my school.. which SUCKS!

I gave a look see over the critique you found for me *thanks :)*, its great!.

This is my first ever research paper with critics and i was wondering if any passages LEAPED out at you from Jenifer Hicks Critical analysis? I will give it another thorough read and try to pick stuff out that correspond to my topic of "Freedom".

thanks again!!

Yes, that's no fun, not having library access! Regarding Hicks' analysis, it seems to me that the theme of female self-assertion is intricately tied to the theme of freedom, because women did not really have anything approaching "freedom" until the latter half of the 20th century (as you can see by the "Compare and Contrast" list at the end of the essay).

Since it seems you at least have internet access, you might have a look at this page, which seems to have a lot of links to useful material: falcon.jmu.edu/~ramseyil/chopin.htm

I hope this helps!


Sarah, EssayForum.com
Mar 11, 2008   #5
Good afteroon.

I agree with your views on the theme of freedom and how it relates to female self-assertion. Aswell, i would like to thank you for another useful website (though a few of the links in the site were not working).

I have another question that may be in your area of expertise.

This literary essay i am composing, is based on the theme of 'freedom'. However, i am unsure as to what main/key points i should use in my essay (for the body). I've picked this story apart and i still struggle to find any aspects of the story or ideas/points to make a unified literary reseach paper.

If you are familiar with this story and have any feedback, that would be TOO AWSOME!

Note: the story may be found here, vcu.edu/engweb/webtexts/hour/

Thanks again, essayForums!

What strikes me upon reading the story is the word choices the author uses to convey the sense of freedom/repression in the story. It is not the physical aspect of her life that deprives her of freedom. In fact, it seems her life was a relatively "easy" one in that sense, one which contains "a comfortable, roomy armchair" for her to sink into. And yet, her emotional state is more like a prison. She is "pressed down by a physical exhaustion that haunted her body and seemed to reach into her soul." Her body is not in jail, but her soul, it seems, is.

By contrast, outside the house (and life) that imprisons her, the world is filled with signs of freedom: "trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life ... The delicious breath of rain..."

in the air. Even the peddler in the street below was freer than Mrs. Mallard. But she could hear freedom: "The notes of a distant song which some one was singing reached her faintly, and countless sparrows were twittering in the eaves." One gets the sense that she wishes she could join them.

Her lack of freedom shows in her "fair, calm face, whose lines bespoke repression." She is weighed down by her life, until she realizes that she now faces "a long procession of years to come that would belong to her absolutely."

She seems to have been well acquainted with the "powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature." It is that will which steals her freedom, and the loss of the embodiment of that will--her husband--which gives her back that freedom (if, indeed, she has ever really experienced freedom before).

All of these phrases convey the strong impression of the emotional prison which stifles her, and the tantalizing new life which she sees unfolding before her, at the death of her husband.

I hope this helps get you started!


Sarah, EssayForum.com

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