The number of marriages that end in divorce in America is one out of every five; the number of marriages that end in death is about eight hundred thousand per year. Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” is the tale of a married woman who finds herself on an emotional rollercoaster after learning that her husband was killed in a train accident, only to have him walk through the door within the hour. At first, she mourns the loss of her husband. However, as she realizes the breadth of the freedom she now possesses, this sadness soon transforms into joy, and she emerges from her upstairs bedroom a changed woman. Then, when her husband unexpectedly walks through the front door, she is all at once overcome with a sense of grief, and she collapses on the foyer floor, unable to bear the thought of returning to her marriage. Chopin, a controversial author, explores the negative side of the construct of marriage. Maintaining one’s independence can, in fact, strengthen a marriage, by promoting equality within the marriage, bolstering one’s …show more content…
Mallard, like anyone in a dependent relationship, felt trapped. Particularly in nineteenth-century America, when it was seen as a person’s social calling to find a spouse and settle down rather early in life, many of those people (especially women) did not have lives outside their own, and would have been shunned if they divorced broke away from the social norm. Even Chopin, as cavalier as she was for her time, couldn’t resist the compulsion to marry young, at twenty years of age, and settle down. The last line of “The Story of an Hour”, “When the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease – of joy that kills” (Chopin 3) highlights this point with the poignant use of irony. Mrs. Mallard did not die from the “joy that kills”, the bliss of seeing her husband once again, as society would have mandated. Instead she died from her unwillingness to return to the day-to-day drudgery of living as the lesser half of one married
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Like in many tragically true stories, it would seem Mrs. Mallard 's freedom came too late. Kate Chopin’s, “The Story of an Hour” begins by introducing Mrs. Mallard as a person afflicted with heart trouble. The story builds on this by having Mrs. Mallard’s sister Josephine and her husband Richard explain the situation in a very sensitive manner. Their efforts would prove to be in vain however as Mrs. Mallard then proceeds to emotionally break down. The news shocks Mrs. Mallard to her very core and has her at odds with how she should feel now that all was said and done. After coming to terms with her situation, fate delivers its final blow in a cruel and deceitful ploy towards Mrs. Mallards. And with that, Mrs. Mallard 's dies. In her hour of change Mrs. Mallard 's was delicate, thoughtful and excitable.
Mrs. Mallard is the example of a typical housewife of the mid 1800’s. At the time, most women were not allowed to go to school and were usually anticipated to marry and do housework. During that time, the only way women could get out of a marriage was if they were to die or their husbands was to die. In that time period, the husband had control of all of the money, so it would not be wise if the wife were to leave the financial freedom that was provided by the husband. This is most likely why Mrs. Mallard never leaves her husband’s death, she is sad at first but then experiences an overwhelming sense of joy. This shows that she is not in a fulfilling marriage as his death means she will finally have own individual freedom, as well as financial freedom being the grieving widow who will inherit her husband’s wealth. In the words of Lawrence I. Berkove he states, “On the other hand, Chopin did not regard marriage as a state of pure and unbroken bliss, but on the other, she could not intelligently believe that it was desirable, healthy, or even possible for anyone to live as Louise, in the grip of her feverish delusion, wishes: to be absolutely free and to live totally and solely for oneself.” (3) Mrs. Mallard’s reaction to her husband’s death is Chopin’s way of expressin...
“The Story of the Hour” by Kate Chopin portrays an opposing perspective of marriage by presenting the reader with a woman who is somewhat untroubled by her husbands death. The main character, Mrs. Louise Mallard encounters the sense of freedom rather than sorrow after she got knowledge of her husbands death. After she learns that her husband, Brently, is still alive, it caused her to have a heart attack and die. Even though “The Story of the Hour” was published in the eighteen hundreds, the views of marriage in the story could coincide with this era as well.
For women, the 19th century was a time of inequality, oppression, and inferiority to their male counterparts. A woman's social standing depended solely on her marital status. For these reasons many women were forced to lead a life of solitude and emotional inadequacy, often causing depression. In Kate Chopin's short story "The Story of an Hour," setting plays a significant role in illustrating the bittersweet triumph of Mrs. Mallard's escape from oppression at the ironic cost of her life.
In her story “The Story of an Hour,” Kate Chopin (1894) uses imagery and descriptive detail to contrast the rich possibilities for which Mrs. Mallard yearns, given the drab reality of her everyday life. Chopin utilizes explicit words to provide the reader a background on Mrs. Mallard’s position. Chopin uses “She wept at once,” to describe Mrs. Mallard’s emotional reaction once she was told her husband had been “Killed.” Mrs. Mallard cared for and loved her husband; being married was the only way of life that she knew.
Marriage can be seen as a subtle form of oppression, like many things which are dictated by social expectations. In Kate Chopin’s The Story of An Hour, Louise Mallard finds herself in distress due to the event of her husband’s death that makes her question who she is as a person. The author cleverly uses this event to create the right atmosphere for Mrs. Mallard to fight against her own mind. As the short story progresses, we see that Mrs. Mallard moves forward with her new life and finds peace in her decision to live for herself. This shows that marriage too is another chain that holds oneself back. Not wanting to admit this to herself, Louise
Kate Chopin’s story, "The Story of an Hour," may seem to be about Mrs. Mallard’s unexpected and ironic reactions to the news of her husband’s untimely death due to a railroad disaster. At least that’s what I thought when I read the story. It seemed to me that she led a normal life with a normal marriage. She had a stable home life with a kind, loving husband who cared for her. She seemed to love him, sometimes. She had some kind of "heart trouble" (Chopin 25) that didn’t really affect her physically, until the very end. I thought Mrs. Mallard would have been saddened and filled with grief for an adequate period of time after her spouse died, but her grief passed quickly, and she embraced a new life that she seemed to be content with. Therefore I believe there is good evidence that Mrs. Mallard was an ungrateful woman who did not appreciate her husband or his love for her. That evidence is found in her selfish behavior after the death of her husband, Brently Mallard.
Chopin reflects her rejection of the “postures of femininity” through her character’s descriptions. She describes her as “young, with a fair, calm face, whose lines bespoke repression.” Describing her as young and calm are what men looked for in a wife in the 19th century. They wanted a submissive woman to tend to their needs as Chopin’s description suggests. Furthermore, Chopin says of her character Mrs. Mallard, “she would live for herself.” Her character believes she will now be free of her marriage, and won’t be “repressed” as aforementioned any longer by her husband. Wives had a natural servitude towards their husbands as husbands worked and went about their lives. All in all, Chopin displays her character as having a joyous moment after the death of her husband because she is let go of being forced into her “femininity.”
Chopin depicts marriage as a prison institution that confines women for life. In the story there is no possibility for divorce and death seems to be the only way out. Evidently, since marriage is dictated by society, women do not seem bothered by their lack of freedom since they feel it is their obligation to run homes without complaining. From the story, Mrs. Mallard does not seem perturbed by her present situation until gets a taste of freedom after receiving the news about her husband death. Precisely, we are told that;
“There is no perfect relationship. The idea that there is gets us into so much trouble.”-Maggie Reyes. Kate Chopin reacts to this certain idea that relationships in a marriage during the late 1800’s were a prison for women. Through the main protagonist of her story, Mrs. Mallard, the audience clearly exemplifies with what feelings she had during the process of her husbands assumed death. Chopin demonstrates in “The Story of an Hour” the oppression that women faced in marriage through the understandings of: forbidden joy of independence, the inherent burdens of marriage between men and women and how these two points help the audience to further understand the norms of this time.
...ge that she does not wish to be in. This woman suffers a tremendous amount from the commitment of her marriage, that the death of her husband does not affect her for long. A marriage such as this seems so unbelievable, yet a reader could see the realistic elements incorporated into the story. This begs the question of how undesirable marriage was during Chopin’s life. The unhappiness felt by Mrs. Mallard seems to be very extreme, but Chopin creates a beautiful story that reflects upon the idea of marriage as an undesired relationship and bond to some women in the nineteenth century.
Kate Chopin is able to illuminate her stories with clever language and meaning. As well as an immense criticism as to how society oppresses the individual in the glorified institution of marriage. Through language, she is able to introduce the thought of deeper meanings. “The Story of an Hour” being a prime example of the individual that has a need for freedom for herself. Through symbolism and straightforward comments, the freedom that Mrs. Louisa Mallard is notable just as her marriage is oppressive.
In the short story, “The Story of an Hour,” author Kate Chopin presents the character of Mrs. Louis Mallard. She is an unhappy woman trapped in her discontented marriage. Unable to assert herself or extricate herself from the relationship, she endures it. The news of the presumed death of her husband comes as a great relief to her, and for a brief moment she experiences the joys of a liberated life from the repressed relationship with her husband. The relief, however, is short lived. The shock of seeing him alive is too much for her bear and she dies. The meaning of life and death take on opposite meaning for Mrs. Mallard in her marriage because she lacked the courage to stand up for herself.
Key Elements:The story of an hour · Plot: Standard plot. A woman who receive the notice of her husband's death, and when she begins to felt freedom her husband appear again and she can't accept it and fall died. · Characterization: Few characters a. Mrs. Mallard or Louise: Mallard's wife. Was afflicted with hearth trouble.
Mallard. Her self-assertion surpassed the years they were married and the love she had for him. She is beginning to realize she can now live for and focus on herself. The text insists “There would be no one to live for during those coming years; she would live for herself. 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 upon a fellow-creature.” (Chopin 477.) Finally she can live freely and no longer worry about being confined in her marriage and inside her own home. She has come to realization that she is now independent and can think freely and achieves happiness and freedom. She is no longer held down or back by her marriage. She will no longer be someone’s possession she will be free and respected. Her husband Brently returns and he is alive the happiness and freedom she once possessed briefly with the mere image of her deceased husband were quickly torn away. “When the doctors came they said she died of heart disease of joy that kills” (Chopin 477). She was free but still confined without the knowledge of her husband who wasn’t dead. Chopin illustrates at the end that she was free because joy killed her. She was joyous because she was finally set free but she is now once again confined by the grief knowing her husband was not killed