In Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour”, the struggle for freedom is dominant. The main character, Mrs. Mallard, stands for a woman who is struggling internally and externally for freedom. After the sudden loss of her husband, Mrs. Mallard gets a taste of the freedom she was lacking in her marriage. Like Mrs. Mallard, women throughout history have struggled to find freedom and success away from their husbands. Chopin herself only became successful after the loss of her husband. In “The Story of an Hour”, Chopin shows women’s struggle for freedom during the Victorian period through Mrs. Mallard’s struggle for her own freedom. Chopin first shows the struggle by telling how Mrs. Mallard’s sister, Josephine, and friend, Richards, expect Mrs. Mallard to react to her husband’s death. Chopin starts the story by saying, “[k]nowing the Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with heart trouble, great care was taken to break her as gently as possible the news of her husband’s death” (30). The heart condition introduced in the first line of the story is actually the weakness …show more content…
Mallard at the end of the story stands for the suffrage of women during this time to be free. She would rather die than lose her newfound freedom. Chopin’s biography before the story states “[t]he loss of her husband, however, led to her assuming responsibilities…Eventually devoting herself entirely to writing” (30). Her success was found only after she was free from her marriage; Chopin herself could have been hinting to the fact the she would have rather died than lose her own freedom. Chopin also uses the heart condition to kill Mrs. Mallard. She writes “the doctors…said she had died of a heart disease—of the joy that kills” (32). The metaphor of the heart condition standing for the weakness put on women returns with her husband. She is no longer strong and free; she is weak and trapped by her marriage. Chopin uses this purposely to show that women are weak in marriage and need to be set
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Mrs. Mallard, in the story, had heart trouble and was carefully let down when they had discovered her husband’s death. Chopin said, “She sat with her head thrown back upon the cushion of the chair, quite motionless, except when a sob came up into her throat and shook her, as a child who has cried itself to sleep continues to sob in its dreams” (307). Throughout the entire story the reader is lead to believe she is sad over her husband’s death; when in reality she feels free again and she cries tears of joy. The story continues to tell the reader about Mrs. Mallard’s grievance, “She knew that she would weep again when she saw the kind, tender hands folded in death; the face that had never looked save with love upon her, fixed and gray and dead. But she had saw beyond that bitter moment a long with love upon her fixed and gray and dead. But her absolutely” (Chopin 307). Mrs. Mallard looked forward to being free from her husband even though she loved him sometimes. She kept whispering, “free! Body and soul free!” (Chopin 308). As her sister thought she was weeping tears of sadness, Mrs. Mallard was happy. As Mrs. Mallard collected herself, she and her sister walked down to the bottom of the stairs together. The door began to open, it was her husband Brentley Mallard, and Mrs. Mallard passed away from “hear disease- of joy that kills” (Chopin 308). The situational irony in this story is Mrs. Mallard
After reading The Story of An Hour by Kate Chopin, Daniel Deneau remarkably breaks down and analyzes the most intense aspects of the short story. Deneau acknowledges simple things such as “the significance of the open window and the spring setting” along with more complex questions including what Mrs. Mallard went through to achieve her freedom. He also throws in a few of his own ideas which may or may not be true. Almost entirely agreeing with the interpretation Deneau has on The Story of An Hour, he brings stimulating questions to the surface which makes his analysis much more intricate.
The struggle the other characters face in telling Mrs. Mallard of the news of her husband's death is an important demonstration of their initial perception of her strength. Through careful use of diction, Mrs. Mallard is portrayed as dependent. In mentioning her "heart trouble" (12) Chopin suggests that Mrs. Mallard is fragile. Consequently, Josephine's character supports this misconception as she speaks of the accident in broken sentences, and Richards provides little in the way of benefiting the situation. In using excess caution in approaching the elderly woman, Mrs. Mallard is given little opportunity to exhibit her strength. Clearly the caution taken towards Mrs. Mallard is significant in that it shows the reader the perception others have of her. The initial description the author provides readers with creates a picture that Mrs. Mallard is on the brink of death.
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...
Upon coming to the realization that her husband did not die in a tragic railroad incident as she was told by her sister Josephine and her husband’s friend Richards, in the most delicate manner due to her heart troubles, Mrs. Mallard dies suffering from a heart attack. The doctors claim that the cause of her heart attack was from a “joy that kills”(Chopin, Page 3). Throughout this short story, the author Kate Chopin, focuses on visualizing the emotions and the role that the women of the 19th century had as wives. And so, Kate Chopin shows the role of women and what is expected of them by telling a story of a woman who experiences an emotional transformation as soon as she finds out she is a widow. The emotional transformation that Mrs. Mallard
Mrs. Mallard had heart trouble, which made it imperative to break the news of her husband’s death, gently. Thus is why Josephine, Mrs. Mallard’s sister, “told her in broken sentences, veiled hints that revealed in half concealing,” (Chopin, 1894, para. 2). Once she was told the horrible news, Mrs. Mallard was alone in front of her “open window.” She “sank into a comfortable armchair,” (Chopin, 1894, para. 4). She was exhausted. Chopin describes Mrs. Mallard’s experience sitting there; she saw the tops of trees; rain in the air; a peddler was crying his wares; the notes of a distant song reached her; and countless sparrows were twittering in the eaves. (Chopin, 1894, para. 5) The descriptions involve the senses of seeing and hearing, which allow the reader to imagine what Mrs. Mallard’s experience was.
Kate Chopin launches her short story by introducing the main character, Mrs. Mallard. Mrs. Mallard is considered the protagonist, the person who the story is centered around. She is described physically as "young with a fair, calm face,.." and someone who possesses "two white slender hands" (Chopin 15), which indicates that she is a youthful, pretty women who does not engage in manual labor. In the first sentence, her fragility is revealed, "Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was affiliated with a heart trouble,". Instantly, a critical analysis should commence. Why would a young female during 1849 suffer from heart trouble? According to WebMD.com, premature heart disease is caused by stress and is prevalent in individuals who fail to have proper stress
In conclusion, “The story of an hour” is a clear depiction that women status in the society determines the choices they make about their lives. In this work, Chopin depicts a woman as a lesser being without identity or voices of their own. They are expected to remain in oppressive marriages and submit to their husbands without question.
Mallard through the acts of forbidden joy and the oppression of marriages contributes to the understanding of the work and the time that it was written. The story opens with the reader knowing that Mrs. Mallard was, “afflicted with heart trouble” (Chopin, 15), suggesting a more symbolic notion that she is ambivalent towards her marriage and expresses her unhappiness towards he lack of freedom. Mrs. Mallard ultimately throughout the story questions the meaning of love and rejects it as meaningless. It is arguable to say that Chopin was influenced by women’s roles and other writings at the time, which contributed to her understanding of the meaning of love and courtship. This understanding could be said that it was altered and became more dejected. When Mrs. Mallard dies in the end of the story, it is ironic that she was to die of “heart disease.” This particular death proves that Chopin’s claims of the loss of joy and the return to oppression would kill a woman in this time since independence was a right to be given through the death of their husbands. Another symbolic figure that Chopin uses is the use of the open window, which Mrs. Mallard sees, “blue sky showing here and there through the clouds” (Chopin, 15). The window is Mrs. Mallard’s salvation, ultimately concluding that Chopin doesn’t see any other way for women to be free of their prison during this time. This window acts as a barrier between life and death itself. Once Mrs. Mallard turns away
...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.
...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.
Chopin describes her as a fragile woman. Because she was “afflicted with a heart trouble,” when she receives notification of her husband’s passing, “great care was taken” to break the news “as gently as possible” (1). Josephine, her sister, and Richards, her husband’s friend, expect her to be devastated over this news, and they fear that the depression could kill her because of her weak heart. Richards was “in the newspaper office when the intelligence of the railroad disaster was received, with Brently Mallard’s name leading the list of killed” (1). He therefore is one of the first people to know about his death. Knowing about Mrs. Mallard’s heart, he realizes that they need to take caution in letting Mrs. Mallard know about it. Josephine told her because Richards feared “any less careful, less tender” person relaying the message to Louise Mallard (1). Because of her heart trouble, they think that if the message of her husband’s death is delivered to her the wrong way, her heart would not be able to withstand it. They also think that if someone practices caution in giving her the message, that, ...
Mallard states that she is going to live her new life independently now that Mr. Mallard is gone; she accepts her newfound freedom and believes that she is now an independent woman. Mrs. Mallard was oppressed by Mr. Mallard, and Chopin hints at this oppression: “Chopin seems to be making a comment on nineteenth-century marriages, which granted one person - the man - right to own and dominate another - the woman,” (“The Story of an Hour” 266). The men and women should be treated equally in marriage and should be free, which relates to Mrs. Mallard feeling oppressed by Mr. Mallard. She realizes that she was below her husband her whole married life: “What could love, the unsolved mystery, count for in the face of this possession of self-assertion which she suddenly recognized as the strongest impulse of her being!” (Chopin 645). Her inferiority to her husband controlled her; his death allows her to start over as an independent being. Mrs. Mallard is known to have heart trouble, but readers do not understand what that trouble is until they soon find out: “Later, when we see Mrs. Mallard ‘warmed and relaxed,’ we realize that the problem with her heart is that her marriage has not allowed her to ‘live for herself,’” (Hicks 269). The readers find out that Mrs. Mallard’s mystery heart trouble dealt with her being confined by Mr. Mallard in marriage, which she soon turns away from. Mrs. Mallard’s internal struggle is caused by rushing into marriage; she did not develop herself before developing a relationship with someone else, such as Mr. Mallard: “Love is not a substitute for selfhood; indeed selfhood is love’s pre-condition,” (Ewell 273). Mrs. Mallard may have felt constrained by Mr. Mallard in her marriage because she did not know herself before. If she had known herself before the marriage, she would have known her own constraints and opinions, instead of feeling oppressed by Mr. Mallard. Mrs. Mallard accepts her freedom and independence. She decides to live
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