Theme Of The Rapid Fire Of Emotions In The Story Of An Hour

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The Rapid Transition of Emotions: Analyzing Character in Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour”
In Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour,” the main character goes through a rapid fire of emotions. At the beginning of the hour, Louise Mallard is a woman who is tied by the beliefs of the society, to stay in a marriage she does not want. After she finds out that her husband passed away, Louise reacts with sudden grief. However, when she realizes that her husband’s death has let her free from the marriage she does not want to stay in, she eventually becomes elated. She becomes happy because Louise wants to live for herself and does not want to rely on anyone. The unexpected return of her husband causes Mrs. Mallard to die unexpectedly. During the hour,
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Mallard’s grief is shown twice in the story. Firstly, Louise mourns the loss of her husband. She cries because she knows how a woman behaves when she loses her husband. She “[weeps] … with sudden, wild abandonment” (66) that shows that she felt strongly about losing her husband and it is the most intense of the emotions she experiences so far. According to Selina Jamil, Louise’s “life seems devoid of emotions [until the moment she is told that her husband has passed]” (1). It is a strong claim to say that Mrs. Mallard feels nothing. However, it is true to say that Louise’s emotions toward her husband are shallow. Her response to Mr. Mallard’s “kind and tender hands,”(67) is only that “she had loved him sometimes … ”(67). Secondly, Louise grieves when she loses hope. For example, Louise’s hopes get shattered when she finds out that her husband is alive (68). This loss of hope is because not only will she be unable to fulfill her dreams about being a single, independent woman, but also because she would be going back into the repressive marriage she was in: as the narrator says, “she [is] young, … whose lines [bespeak] repression …”(67). She is also “pressed down by a physical exhaustion the haunts her body and seems to reach her soul”(66). This is to say that her marriage does not allow her to be open and express her emotions freely that Mrs. Mallard held every thought inside. Mrs. Mallard grieves as a result of the loss of a spouse and then the loss of…show more content…
She is joyful because she is liberated and she sees hope as a result of her liberation. After her husband passed away, she thinks about her marriage and “...recognizes self-assertion as the strongest impulse of her being” (67). Xuemei Wan quotes “… Mrs. Mallard feels it more important to be an individual than to be a woman (or at least a mother-woman)…”(168). To show this desire of selfhood, the narrator uses Louise’s first name right after Louise recognizes what she wants—her freedom (68). Before Mr. Mallard died, Louise was identified as Mrs. Mallard—someone’s wife; after she realizes the positive aspects of being a widow, Louise is no more someone’s wife, rather an independent woman. In addition, Louise’s liberation leads her to “... embrace visions of the future” (Wilson 266). For example, she sees “ … the new spring life [in the open square]”(66). For Louise, the new spring life is a possibility “... of a life without her husband …”(Wilson 266) where she would not have to rely on a husband anymore. She is also free from the repressive marriage she was in and she “she saw beyond that bitter moment a long procession of years to come that would belong to her absolutely, and she opens and spreads her arms out to them in welcome”(67). Louise is ecstatic about her husband’s death because she is free from the marriage she does not want to stay in and she will get to do whatever she
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