Childhood And Family Essays Example
Family is the core of a person’s existence as it is the place from where an individual gets nurtured. In the present day society, the nuclear family structure apparently seems to be the ideal thing for one and all so that they can live with independence. People thrive to fulfill their dreams and aspirations, and they seek support from their counterpart in the family. However, the patriarchal societal situation gives the upper hand to the male counterpart of the nuclear family. One burning question that the women folks of the society should ponder about is whether they are ready to be under the subordination of their male counterparts.
The women folk of the society who opt to get married have the chance of starting a family. They give birth to children, and often do not deter from being ambitious in life. However, their husbands have a huge say in the decisions of their lives. This practice of subjugation of women in the family that is entirely patriarchal in nature is prevalent from past times. This is portrayed in literary works by feminist authors across the globe. Kate Chopin, the eminent feminist author, in her seminal short story, The Story of an Hour, goes on to delve deep into the issue of female subordination in the nuptial bond.
The society conditions the female right from her childhood to comply with the institutionalized notion of correct femininity. She is expected to be polite, passive in nature, and humane as an individual. However, such attributes are not meant for the males of the society. Quite like their physical strength, they are expected to be strong individuals with a robust attitude. In the bond of marriage, a woman is always expected to play the role of a caregiver, child-bearer and homemaker. However, in a bid to fulfill the societal expectations, the female fails to aspire for more as an individual. She fails to aspire on the path of having a successful life for her as the parameters of propriety are already set by the society through the ages.
In the present era feminist forces have sprung up all across the world with the vehement voice of protest against the subtle tactics of patriarchy to keep the women folks as subordinate. Women of the society have received education, and they have understood that they are not inferior to the men in any way. Rather, they have all the capacity to excel much more that men of the society.
In the short story, The Story of an Hour, the female protagonist feels that the news of the demise of her husband, Brently, might be sad in a way, but it opens avenues of freedom for her. The author writes, ““Free! Body and soul free!” she kept whispering.” (Chopin) She could now pursue her dreams, and live life on her own terms. Kate Chopin writes, “There would be no one to live for during those coming years; she would live for herself.” (Chopin) Likewise, gazillion women across the society live being subordinated by their male partners who impose their will on the female. This is a direct resultant of the patriarchal societal structure that aims to portray the females as the inferior sex in the human society.
What is important is how the women of the world can endeavor to escape from the clutches of patriarchy that is omniscient in the society. Firstly, women should get educated so that they can embark upon the path of economic independence, even after marriage. It is only after realizing the ways in which women are being victimized that they can speak in unison against the patriarchal practices.
While the female protagonist in the story by Chopin revels in the fact that her husband has died, the author never expresses that her husband was abusive or torturing toward her. Thus, the readers can very well understand that the author wishes to point toward the innate oppressive nature of marriages in the society. Carol Pateman in her famous work, The Sexual Contract, talks of the nuclear family structure, and how the family is constituted in the patriarchal way treating the women as property of the males. The oppression and subordination goes beyond the societal demarcation of community and religious beliefs.
In the story by Chopin, Mrs. Mallard dies of heart attack when she comes to know that the news of her husband’s demise is not true. The doctor opines that she has died of joy as her heart was too weak. Ironically, her pain and shock is mistaken by the people to be her happiness of finding that her husband has come back. The ending of the short story is a reflection of the effects of patriarchy, and how it influences the thoughts and perspectives of the people of the society. Chopin pens, “When the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease--of the joy that kills.” (Chopin) The story of Mrs. Mallard can be seen as the microcosm of the female mass of the world society. In every corner of the world, women face indignation at the hands of the males who take them to be superior to the females.
The issue of gender discrimination haunts the society on the present day. Feminist movements like FEMEN and laws of the state are definitely trying to nullify the discrimination. However, there has to be consciousness at the individual level on the part of the women. Marriage cannot be a societal institution that robs women of their independence and identity. Rather, in an ideal situation, marriage should pave the way of mutual support and understanding that would bring prosperity and happiness to both the people in the relationship.
Chopin, Kate. The Story of an Hour.