In The Story of an Hour, the window is what symbolizes Mrs.
What is the possible meaning of the story's last line?
New historicism is primarily concerned with the ways in which social power relations are embedded in language. Recognizing the textuality of history, critics agree that a range of texts, including literature, may generate subversive insights. However, they maintain that any potential for real subversion will be undercut and contained by the text itself. This significant principle of new historicist thinking emphasizes that ultimately there is no space in literature for effective resistance to authoritative social power. All texts will eventually contain and undermine their potential for subversion by submitting to and reinforcing the dominant social thinking of the day. Such customary pessimism for new historicist thinking has been the target of criticism, but practitioners nevertheless maintain that texts may point towards subversion, but they will surrender to the practice they expose. A new historicist approach to literary analysis will therefore illustrate the ways in which ideological practices always short-circuit any real challenge to prevailing power relations in society.
What is the thesis of "The Story of an Hour"? | eNotes
New historicism is influenced by cultural anthropology. Critics practise literary analysis with a method of ‘thick description’, a term coined by Clifford Geertz in his book (1973). Geertz explains this practice with an example of two boys winking. In essence, he argues that the thinnest description of their behaviour – a factual account without any interpretation – will deem the boys’ action an involuntary twitch of the eye. On the other hand, a thick description will suggest that the wink is deliberate behaviour that could be sending a message or code understood by the two boys. New historicists would decode the message with closer examination and contextual analysis to produce a thick description that incorporates a commentary and interpretation of the act and its power relations.
An Examination of the Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin
New historicists give equal critical weight to analysing the ways in which literature and historical texts negotiate social and political power. The literary text is not prioritized in any new historicist essay. Critics might examine the life of the author and look at traditional historical sources like newspaper reports, letters or journal accounts or cast their net more widely to look at medical or penal records, advertisements or other more obscure documentary sources. Analysing this variety of texts alongside literature enables new historicists to find evidence of widespread power structures operating in society. They then identify potential patterns of subversion that expose networks of power operating across texts. A combined critical focus on literature and historical texts permits the identification of what Greenblatt terms ‘social energies’, which he suggests are encoded across different types of text. Practitioners of new historicism established a pattern for analysis that often begins by citing a single documentary anecdote. The anecdote might initially appear far removed from the concerns of the literary text in question, but by analysing connections across the diverse texts, critics are able to actively expose similar social concerns and power relations in evidence in both. New readings of history and literature allow critics to demonstrate the ways in which pervasive power structures operate in different types of text within a particular society at a particular time.