“The Story of An Hour” by Kate Chopin, is a story that has been controversial since its publication in 1894, with reviews ranging from highly critical to great acclaim. The story follows Chopin’s character Mrs. Mallard who is introduced at the same time she is receiving news of her husband’s death. The story is largely a mixture of radical views for its time, subtle meanings, and symbolism. While modern day readers read this story with an open mind, many men - of the 1890’s and much of the 1900’s - would have been outraged at its surface meaning. However, even today Chopin’s story receives criticism for being a gross portrayal of a woman's loss. This is due to the fact that many individuals continue to view the story at face value. Nevertheless, readers of Chopin’s story will find themselves reacting either one extreme or the other. But it is this reader participation that is crucial in determining what the story will be. Despite all beliefs, Mrs. Mallard is a woman who is stuck in her time trying to escape society’s constraints, develop her own identity, all while “coping” with the loss of her husband.
Chopin’s story begins with the introduction of its protagonist, Mrs. Mallard. At the same time of her introduction, Mrs. Mallard is receiving news of her husband’s death and the reader is being introduced to the first of many of Chopin’s subtle descriptions of the time. Mrs. Mallard is introduced to the reader with her first name withheld, while her husband is introduced as Brentley Mallard. This is a direct representation of the times and how women were almost always referred to as solely “Mrs.” What this implies, however, is that Mrs. Mallard is just a wife and by having her first name withheld, she lacks much of her identi...
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...tedly, but instead the idea that she no longer will have her husbands will forcing her to have no self-assertion, which was common of that time. By the last 3 paragraphs of the story Louise has come to full realization of what is to come.
With the death of Brentley Mallard, Louise sees the things to come and fantasizes about the life ahead of her. She thinks of “spring days, and summer days, and all sorts of days that would be her own.” She has ascended into a new life much like she ascended the stairs in the beginning, foreshadowing the good to come in her life. “She breathed a quick prayer that life might be long. It was only yesterday she had thought with a shudder that life might be long.” By saying this Chopin implies that although Louise was alive, what’s the point in being so if you can’t feel it.
Talk about stairs in beginning and stairs in the end.
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Mallard felt restricted in her marriage and displays the need for independence. Symbolism is used to exemplify the transformation from Mrs. Mallard’s unconscious, numb existence to Louise’s new founded freedom. Chopin uses the seasons to symbolize the new life taking place within Louise. This new world appears before her through the world displayed through her bedroom window. The reader views her as motionless with her dull stare transformed into a gaze focus off yonder, symbolizing her future. The unknown feeling of freedom grew closer to Louise. Mrs. Mallard gains this “possession of self-assertion which she suddenly recognized as the strongest impulse of her being.” This alludes to Mrs. Mallard’s desire for independence.
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.
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.
The main theme in The Story of an Hour was the need for happiness found in independence. Once Louise found out from her sister that her husband was most likely dead an internal conflict began to arise in her.“Free! Body and soul free! she kept whispering”.
Unfortunately, her hope for long years and many beautiful spring days was abruptly ended in an ironic twist. Unbeknownst to herself and her company, Mr. Mallard had survived, and within an hour the promises of a bright future for Mrs. Mallard had both began and came to an end. Her grievous death was misconstrued as joy to the others: "they said she had died of heart disease-of joy that kills" (Chopin 471). This statement embodies the distorted misconception that a woman lives only for her man. The audience, in fact, sees just the opposite. To Louise her life was elongated at the news of her husband's death, not cut short. Throughout the story, one hopes Louise will gain her freedom. Ironically, she is granted freedom, but only in death.
This seems to tell us that she used to live as her husband wished her to live and not by her own wishes. After this, she will live according to her own wishes, something she had not experienced for a long time. In each part of the sentence, the verb “no one” and “herself” occupy the same relationship. This is to mean that either Mrs. Mallard is the idea that no one finds her of value, or she is suggesting that it is only rationale for her to be herself if there is no one else to set rules for her. In the statement, “She breathed a quick prayer that life might be long. It was only yesterday she had thought with a shudder that life might be long” (Chopin 2), Mrs. Mallard is afraid of what will happen in her afterlife. It is only once she thought her husband had died and that she was free and was now excited about living. This is another example of Chopin’s use of ironic style, for this prayer is not
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.
As Mrs. Mallard lets her realization take root she begins to chant, “free, free, free” (Chopin, 75). This shows that she accepts her new fate and knows that she will be okay without her husband. Louise becomes aware that she has been dictated by social expectation and requirement, but now can live for herself once again with no one to answer to. Louise admits, “she would weep again when she saw the kind, tender hands folded in death” (Chopin, 75), but sees her future beyond that now. Social expectations no longer obligate her to be the woman she was. Louise is now able to do what she feels is most beneficial for her as an individual, and not what would be expected in her monogamous
After hearing about the death of her husband she locks herself in a room and stares at this window. Through the window she sees a blue sky, fluffy clouds, and treetops; these could be seen as a symbolism of hope to come. In this moment the open window is providing Louise with life. Through the window she sees a clear, bright view into her distant future. “There would be no one to live for during those coming years; she would live for herself” (P12). It seems as though Louise was trapped throughout this marriage. While looking out the window she realizes all the opportunities that awaits her now that her husband is dead and she does not have to abide to the demands on another person. ” There would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose”
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.”
...egaining her husband and all of the loss of freedom her marriage entails. The line establishes that Louise's heart condition is more of a metaphor for her emotional state than a medical reality.” (Koloski) It is ironic that she accepts the death of her husband and is joyous and free, and then he ends up being alive after she walks out of the room with a sense of power. The ending of The Story of an hour by Kate Chopin implies that maybe the only true resolution of conflict is in death.
...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.
...was only yesterday she had thought with a shudder that life might be long.” The death of her husband gave her a new look of life in her future. Now that she could live for herself, she wanted nothing more. When she was forced into the role of a fearful and obedient wife, she didn’t see a point in living. She would have rather died young then to have to obey her husband for the rest of her life. After she says this, her husband walks into their home and she realizes that he wasn’t really dead all along. She finally allowed herself to think of her life as living for herself. I think that the shock and disappointment in not being allowed the new life is what killed her. She got her wish in the end and lived a short life, which is what she wanted all along if she was forced to live her life for her husband. It seems like her body gave her what her mind wanted.
... her true feelings with her sister, or talking to her husband or reaching out to other sources of help to address her marital repressed life, she would not have to dread living with her husband. “It was only yesterday she had thought with a shudder that life might be long” (Chopin 262). Her meaning for life would not have to mean death to her husband. In conclusion, her lack of self assertion, courage and strong will to address her repressed life made her look at life and death in a different perspective. When in fact there is no need to die to experience liberation while she could have lived a full life to experience it with her husband by her side.
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