Throughout the course of literature the female character has often been construed as the stereotypical helpless, subservient, and troublesome figure. Often in literature as well as in life women became trapped in a marriage, living out a simple housewife persona. Even before the emergence of the 20th century feminist movement, female writers often criticized the conventional way of patriarchal society through their works. Feminist authors, such as Kate Chopin, tried to personify their characters as strong able individuals to "endorse feminine self-assertion-(Fluck 154) and make a statement for women while criticizing institutions that hindered women's rights. In Chopin's "The Story of an Hour- she openly questions societal norms, expresses strong feminist viewpoints on a woman's place in society independent from her husband, and condemns marriage as a societal method to inhibit a woman's self will. .
"The Story of an Hour- is historically set in the nineteenth century. Women at this time were believed to be to incompetent for their own accord, completely relying on their husbands for support. Placed in the gender biased society women were considered housewives and mothers whose sole purpose was to marry, have children, and take care of the household duties. They were not considered to be financially or emotionally competent enough to be in charge of their domestic arrangement or their own life. The death of a husband often spelled the disaster and complete breakdown for a family's .
structure. Chopin disagrees, she believes that women are not only capable to live and support their own lives, but that they are actually freed with the death of a husband and its imposing constraints. .
In "The Story of an Hour- Chopin places Mrs. Mallard in the position to contemplate her husbands' recent death. She is at first taken and overwhelmed by the situation collapsing into a state of grief.