Kate Chopin's, "The Story of an Hour," was written in 1894, during a time when woman had very few rights. The year Chopin published this short story, many changes were taking place in the women's suffrage movement. Before changes took place in 1894, women did not have the right to own property, make wills, or even to be guardians of their own children. .
In 1894, a powerful woman and strong influence in the women's suffrage movement was Josephine Henry. Henry was a dynamic speaker and powerful writer, and a major activist for woman's rights. Like Chopin, One of Josephine's major accomplishments came in 1894 with the passing of the Married Women's Property Act. This Act offered women the first steps towards independence and security. Both women were women of courage and conviction - and far ahead of their time. .
Women such as Chopin and Henry lead the way for today's women to be free thinkers, innovators, and pioneers. Chopin was a literary pioneer with an ability to write in a way which could reflect the plight of suppressed women. Mrs. Mallard, in "The Story of an Hour," is a symbol for all women, showing that even with great change there can be be many great disappointments and setbacks. Freedom never comes easily. .
In the final line of "The Story of an Hour," Chopin writes: "when the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease-of the joy that kills". One would assume, due to that fact that it is stated earlier in the story that she had heart problems and that the surprise of seeing her supposedly deceased husband was more than she could bear, that Mrs. Mallard has a weakening heart. Mrs. Mallard was so overwhelmed with joy that her heart gave out. .
Chopin realized that much change in women's rights was happening all around her, but that change would not be swift. Regardless of how controversial for the time, Chopin's message is still clear, and perhaps clearer, as literary efforts have not been in vain.