Kate Chopin, the only child of 5 to survive into adulthood. Her piece The Story of an Hour can be perceived in different ways. It is just as the title describes, a story that occurs within the span of an hour. One could regard it as just a return from death stories and forget about it. However, this short story has a much more in depth meaning and attempts to make a statement about women’s rights and maybe even humanity. In most cases death ensues grief or sorrow whereas in this story, death brings a mixture of those along with jubilation and a sense of newfound independence. Kate Chopin made the heroine of the story Louise portray how marriage can be confining and something like enslaving or a form of servitude rather than being a mutually loving partnership.
Mr. Mallard our heroiner’s husband is believed to have died from a railroad crash which we can equate this to change in life or the act of moving on. Through his death, his wife would be transitioning from being a wife to being an individual with goals and aspirations. The story opens with the author making known that Mrs.Mallard’s heart trouble will play a role in the story and her sister felt that because of this, relaying the news of her husbandr’s death had to be taken with great caution. Upon discovering the news, she understandably begins to cry and grieve in her room as she requests to be alone. Grief turns to reflection as she looks back on her life, and the reality of a new life without her husband present begins to settle in. Louise feels this overbearing feeling building up though she tries to fight it, she is aware of its presence. The feeling is far from grief as to be expected, but happiness for the new freedom that has been seemingly bestowed upon her. Chopin describes the emotions of Louise and there is a variance in the language used. We see this in the quote And yet she loved him-sometimes. Often she did not showing how indifferent her emotions are in contrast to where her true feelings are seen through change in language. The simple statement above is stunted by What did it matter! What could love, the unsolved mystery, count for in the face of this possession of self-assertion which she suddenly recognized as the strongest impulse of her being! When the emotions Louise experiences become stronger, the syntax and diction changes.
She ponders over the funeral day and knows that shell be brought to tears but for reason other than sadness. The bondage she feels marriage brings is for both men and women and she attempts to shut out the fact that she had feelings for her husband and through this we start to wonder just how sad this marriage really was. We can infer that Louise is an older women from the statement earlier in the story describing her as having a fair calm face with lines projecting repression. We later come to see that as being incorrect, the lines Chopin speaks of are a result of Louiser’s unhappiness with her marriage as well as possibly her heart condition. She attempts to bite back the words Free! Free! Free! (Chopin 4), however, in doing so she also seems content doing so. The death of her husband seemed to be seen as freedom of being under the rule of another and even freedom from a man she did not fully love. We dont know her first name at the beginning of the story and as the story progresses and t is revealed, we can see that Chopin does this in an attempt to show Louise trying to regain her identity lost upon marriage. Thinking on the time, wives of the latter part of 19th century were legally tied to their husbands will. However, widows did not bear the same obligations and had more recognition and thus, more of a handle on their lives. Regardless of how good of a husband Brently Mallard was to his wife, Chopin suggested that any relationship presents some limitation whether intentional or not.
Mrs. Mallard looks outside her window and sees the trees with new life as spring approaches. All her eyes can see from the window are signs of new life which is worded very effectively as spring is equated with a sign of rebirth and renewal and her husband died around this time of year. In the statement that she would live for herself only in the coming years, Chopin suggests that the life she was living before was one in which her husband wanted for her rather than how she wanted to live.
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