The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin

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In Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour”, it talks about marriage and a woman’s life in the 1800’s. This story illustrates the stifling nature of a woman’s role during this time through Mrs. Mallard’s reaction to her husband’s death. When Mrs. Mallard obtains news that her husband is dead, she is hurt after a brief moment and then she is delighted with the thought of freedom. This story shows how life was in the mid 1800’s and how women were treated around that time.
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...

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... Mallard opens the door very much alive. After it is all said and done, it seems like her body gives her what her mind wants the most: freedom.

Works Cited

Berkove, Lawrence I. “Fatal Self-Assertion in Kate Chopin’s ‘The Story of an Hour’.” American Literary Realism 32.2 (Winter 2000): 152-158. Rpt. in Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism. Ed. Janet Witalec. Vol. 127. Detroit; Gale, 2002. Literature Resource Center. Web. 7. 2013.
Chopin, Kate. “The Story of an Hour.” Literature: Craft & Voice. Eds. Nicholas Delbanco and Alan Cheuse. 2nd Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2012. 150-151. 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 (Sept. 2004): 48-55. Rpt. in the Short Story Criticism. Vol. 110. Detroit: Gale, 2008. Literature Resource Center. Web. 7. Nov. 2013.
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