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Louise Mallard’s Demise in “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin

Louise Mallard’s Demise in “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin
Kate Chopin’s short story, “The Story of an Hour”, is about a woman, named Louise Mallard, in the late 1800s who is told that her husband, Brently, has died in a railroad accident. Initially, Louise is surprised, distressed, and drowned in sorrow. After mourning the loss, the woman realizes that she is finally free and independent, and that the only person she has to live for is herself. She becomes overwhelmed with joy about her new discovery of freedom, and dreams of all of the wonderful events in life that lie ahead of her. Louise’s sister finally convinces her to leave her room and come back into reality. While Louise is walking down her steps, her husband surprisingly enters through the door because he was actually not killed in the accident. At the same moment, Louise collapses and dies, supposedly from “heart disease-of joy that kills” (Chopin 706).
Many people interpret that Louise passes away from shock and disappointment from discovering her husband is actually alive. They feel that when Louise finally accepts that her husband is deceased and she discovers freedom, that seeing her husband alive causes her to get depressed, go into shock, and die. On the other hand, a more unique interpretation of Mallard’s death would be that she passed away from excitement and anxiousness from being completely independent, and having various opportunities in store for herself. Mallard may have not been able to handle the new exhilaration directly after experiencing deep depression and grief from the news of her husband’s accident. Some supporting evidence that Louise did not collapse from seeing her husband alive, is that the passage never directly states that she actua...

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...Mallard’s death up to the reader’s own interpretation, but it seems that she is trying to secretly prove that women do not have to be dependent upon men. Chopin demonstrates throughout the literary work that women can possess joy without having a man by their side, which contradicts the beliefs of the 1800’s society. Chopin’s use of an ambiguous death and irony successfully create an entertaining story that courageously takes a stand for women’s freedom.

Works Cited

Chopin, Kate. "The Story of an Hour." Making Literature Matter: An Anthology for Readers and Writers. Eds. John Schilb, and John Clifford. 5th. Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2012. 705-706. Print.
Cunningham, Mark. "The Autonomous Female Self And The Death Of Louise Mallard In Kate Chopin's "Story Of An Hour.." English Language Notes 42.1 (2004): 48-55. Academic Search Complete. Web. 11 Feb. 2014.

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