A Story of an Hour – Essay Assignement
As the title puts it, “The Story of an Hour” is a story that happens in one hour. This story mostly revolves around one woman, Louis Mallard, who is used to develop many themes in the story. Some of the themes brought up have a different interpretation from what is normally known in the usual circumstances. The themes of freedom and death have been projected quite in a way that gives a reader another understanding different from what is already known. Other themes that are evidently seen are time, freedom and confinement, marriage and emotional regression. The title of the story also shows how so many things can happen within a single hour. In normal circumstances, death brings sorrow, grief, seclusion, guilt, and regrets, amongst other feelings depending on the course of death. In this story, death brings some of these feelings such as sorrow and grief. I argue however, that in this short story Kate Chopin uses death to demonstrate how death can not only cause pain and sadness but also bring joy, independence and freedom. The story begins on a very sad note especially in the eyes of a reader. Mrs. Mallard is said to have a “heart trouble” and so Josephine felt that great care had to be taken when delivering the sad news of Bently’s death (Mrs. Mallard’s husband). Upon the delivery of the news, she starts sobbing and grieving then goes to her room to be by herself. This was a time to reflect upon her life. The reality of a life without her husband slowly started setting in. During this time the author helps us to realize that the death of her husband meant that there will be no more women and men oppressing one another. As she is in her room, there is an overwhelming feeling that slowly builds up. Although she tries to conceal it, she can feel it within. It is the feeling of joy and happiness as to the new freedom she has found. During this time that she is in the room, she gets to think of the days that lay ahead of her. She even thinks of the funeral day. She knows that she will cry when she sees the cops of her husband but it seems as if she will be crying induced by formality rather than feelings. Death has come to liberate her from the marriage bondage. According to her, both men and women are victims of this bondage. Although she had some feelings of love for her husband, she tries to console herself that none of that mattered any more and she would get a new kind of freedom. From the general look of things, it seems that this marriage was a sad rather than a happy marriage. At the beginning of the story, Louise is described to have a “fair calm face whose lines bespoke repression” (Chopin, 124). This may make a reader think that she is an old woman. However, she is a young woman as one gets to know as the story continues. The lines of regression portray that she was in an unhappy marriage. Her heart trouble at such an early age was also another sign that she was not happy. This death would release her from all this unhappiness and usher her in to the world of independence, self-control and a new life. When in her room, the words “Free! Free! Free!” (Chopin 124) escape her lips. Although she does this in a holding back manner, she seems to be happy that she is finally free from a life that was belittling and oppressing. To her, her husband’s death meant that she was free from obeying another person’s rules, free from commitment that she had made some time back and free from living with a person that she did not fully love. It is not until later, that we know that her first name is Louis. Her last name became so part of her that she almost forget her real identity. After the death of her husband, in her room, she is referred to by her first name. This symbolizes that she is slowly trying to get back her first identity that she abandoned when she got married. The sense of freedom and independence is slowly settling in. “She could see in the open square before her...
Bibliography: Chopin, K. (2006). The Story of an Hour. In R. Bausch, The Norton Anthology of Short Fiction (Vol. Seventh Edition). New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
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