In the text, “The Story of an Hour”, by Kate Chopin, character Mrs. Mallard, upon learning of her husband’s passing, responds in a positive way. Many may believe that such a reaction is not normal for a spouse to experience when they leam of their significant others passing; however given the time period and Mrs. Mallards condition the circumstances are different. Imagine living in a time, where a woman is of no rights to do as one pleases. A time where everything is dictated by both society and a significant other. Living in such a time period can make a young woman, such as Mrs. Mallard, feel as though they have little freedom. Once given the slight taste of freedom, Mrs. Mallard could not help but jump at the chance.
In the very beginning of the story it is mentioned that Mrs. Mallard was “afflicted with a heart trouble'”, hinting that maybe she has been dependent on others for some time of her life (Story of an Hour pl). It is not apparent of how serious the heart trouble may be however a reader can make the assumption that it requires a certain amount of care. Knowing that Mrs. The severity of Mrs. Mallard’s heart condition was noted when mentioned that, “great care was taken to break her as gently as possible the news of her husband’s death, in the beginning of the text (Story of an Hour pl). The affliction of heart trouble on Mrs. Mallard can cause her to have mix emotions having to rely on others for majority of her lifetime. Mrs. Mallard may begin to experience of loss of self-independence and knowing what it is like to truly experience freedom. Given that Mrs. Mallards afflicted with such issues, it is no surprise that she jumps at any chance she may get to have a small taste of independence.
For women in the 1890’s, staying home and caring for the family was a role that was enforced on most women. According to Laura L. Tumer, of Demand Medias, women who stayed home and focused on caring for their husband, children and household still were considered the ideal by American Society (American Women p2). Many women were forced into arranged marriages for money, while forced to stay home and take care of the household. All the while, undergoing the strict, controlling, and abusive rule of their spouse. Mrs. Mallard herself insists that, “There would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will on a fellow creature”, when hearing of her husband death (Story of an Hour p13). Many may believe that Mrs. Mallard should focus more on the death of her husband than on her self independence. Mrs. Mallard’s shelf-independence however, is of more concem to her than the death of her husband do to the fact that she has yet to experience it. Being able to grasp the chance of seeking what a person desires most, drives them towards craving it more than anything. Mrs. Mallard simply wanted the chance to be free from her husband live for no one but herself.
In many ways some may argue that Mrs. Mallard is a cold hearted women that did mot love her husband, however they can be proven wrong. According to Stephon Rogers, women, such as Mrs. Mallard, felt as if they were “trapped into marriage and that they could never do anything for themselves’ (Women of the 1890’s p4). In Mrs. Mallard’s case, she openly admits to loving her husband sometimes, showing that she did love the man but could care less of him at certain times (Story of an Hour p13). It is quite normal for women to feel as though they have little to no freedom and may react to situations differently. Mrs. Mallard’s reaction is justified in that she lacks the self-independence that she longs and desires for the most.
Shen learning of the death of a loved one, it is unusual to project, a positive response. In most cases a person may weep and mom for their loved one because they may feel lost and confused. However, for Mrs. Mallard she weeps for but a second until she begins to realize that she as a chance to gain back the self-independence that was taken away long ago. Mrs. Mallard s reaction does not reflect on her as if she is some hateful woman who wishes harm upon her husband. She is simply but a young women who longs and needs for the right to live out her life like others around her.
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