Literary Analysis of The Story of an Hour

Satisfactory Essays
Upon hearing the news that her husband passed away in a tragic train accident, a forlorn widow is overcome with unbearable sorrow. However, once she takes a moment to process what happened, and her marriage altogether, she becomes enlightened on the aspect that she can live a free life now, without the burden of her late husband who did nothing but hold her back. Although, there is an unpredictable ending to the story as Mrs. Mallard comes downstairs to find that her husband is alive and well in their front room. Given she has a known heart condition, she collapses out of the heartbreak of knowing she won’t be a free woman and is still stuck in a controlling marriage.
Kate Chopin creates an immense emotional shift when Mrs. Mallard is looking out of the window in her room, after just hearing the bad news, and thinking of the freedom she has instead of grieving her loss when she says, “Free! Body and soul free!” creating a lighter, more cheerful tone than when she sat sobbing in her armchair. She insists, “She had loved him--sometimes. Often she had not.” Suggesting her marriage was not a happy one, and that she might have married him in order to sustain her fiscal needs or some other reason other than love.
The reader can infer that Mrs. Mallard was very relieved her husband was dead, but not out of hatred, out of the newfound freedom she had always wanted. Outside of her window, “She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life.” This symbolizes a new start for her in which she can live a happier life. In addition, she thinks, “Her fancy was running riot along those days ahead of her. Spring days, and summer days, and all sorts of days that would be ...

... middle of paper ...

...cing cry" abruptly dies. As the reader believes she will live a long life but the ending is not what is expected.
Overall, I believe it was definitely heartbreak that ended Mrs. Mallard’s life in the end. In one split second she lost all of the freedom she had come to believe was hers, and she could not survive that emotionally. Even though he was her husband, they did not have a fulfilling marriage. The story goes on to reveal how she is portrayed to others as she is referred to as Louise when everyone thinks her husband is dead, and Mrs. Mallard at the end of the story which suggests she is only herself when her husband is not around. This story is an excellent example of every kind of literary irony there is.
Get Access