The Story Of An Hour

The Story Of An Hour

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The story of an hour

"The story of an hour" has many themes, but mostly shows one main theme, which is dysfunctional marriage. Women in the 19th century were prisoners of their husbands. Life was male dominated. Women were expected to stay at home to cook and raise the children. Not many women had jobs at that time, and even the ones who did, they were paid salaries less than men were.

This short story is about the main character Mrs. Mallard who has a heart problem, who got the bad news from her sister Josephine of her husband's death in a railroad disaster. Her husband's friend Richard was also with them. They brought her the news gently because they were concerned it might put her in danger because of her heart problem. Mrs. Mallard started crying at once, went upstairs, and locked her self in her room. Ironically, she started feeling happy and free. She felt free from the depressing life she was living, she didn't have to live for anyone else but herself now. As Josephine when up to her and took her downstairs, the door was opened and surprisingly Mr. Mallard stood there. He was far away from the accident and did not know anything about it. Richard tried to hide the scene of Mrs. Mallard. When the doctors arrived they said that she had died of her heart disease, from the "joy that kills".

The title of the story is referred to that everything happened within only one hour, she felt happy and free, thought of the life ahead of her, and died all in an hour. The setting is in the 19th century, which is important to the theme of the story, because at that time women were controlled by their husbands. Marriage was more about monetary comfort, social status and acceptance. It wasn't about love. Few characters were mentioned in the story, Mrs. Mallard, her sister Josephine, Richard the husband's friend, and Mr. Mallard. The main character is Mrs. Mallard.
The first sentence of the story, it is mentioned that Mrs. Mallard has a heart problem, and that is foreshadowing indicating that it will affect the outcome of the story, that something wrong will happen. Her sister Josephine breaks the news to her in "veiled hints" and gently, caring and cautious knowing that she has a troubled heart. Mrs. Mallard broke down crying and went upstairs to her room, and "would have no one follow her".

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In situations like these, a person wouldn't want to be alone, instead would want to stay with their close family members and friends, but Mrs. Mallard reacted differently to the bad news. She went up to her room, sank in a "comfortable, roomy chair", which symbolizes as if she's embraced by the chair with the feeling of love and warmth. She starts gazing through the open window and could see the trees and the "new spring life", where the open window symbolizes hope, freedom and a new life, and the time of spring symbolizes happiness. The “delicious breath of rain” is the calmness and warmth after a bad weather or a heavy storm, as if a painful part of her life has come to an end. "She was young, with a fair, calm face, whose lines bespoke repression", through this we see and though she is young but the stress and sadness is shown through her face, which means that she wasn't happy in her life and life have hurt her. "There was something coming to her and she was waiting for it", this makes the reader wonder what this thing might be, will it be death? Will it be something negative or is it something positive? Then as she feels it coming to her, she whispered to herself, "free, free, free!". From this the reader wonders again, is she free from life, or is she free from the depressed life she was living? She started to look into her future, and she saw a long life ahead of her that "would belong to her absolutely", she would live her life for herself now, "there would be no powerful will bending hers", meaning no husband controlling her life. Josephine was behind the door worrying about her sister, here her name was mentioned, "Liouse". It was not mentioned through the whole story until he husband's death, before that she was mentioned as "Mrs. Mallard". As if when she got married she had lost her identity, had belonged to her husband, and became his property. Josephine was worried about her and her heart problem, she thought that the sadness would make her ill. She then opens the door to her sister, she left the room like a "goddess of Victory", which is a simile of how happy and strong she is now. As they went downstairs, someone had opened the front door, and there stood Mr. Mallard. He was far away from the accident and didn't know anything about it. Richard moved quickly to "screen him from the view of his wife". It is noticed that through the story she was first referred to as "Mrs. Mallard", and after she got the news of her husband's death, she was referred to as her name "Liouse", that she got her identity back. Now at the end she's referred to as "wife". The doctors have said that she died of a heart disease, of the "joy that kills", ironically here the "joy" she felt wasn’t of her husband's return, it was the news of his death, and it was the sadness of his return that killed her.
The story was told in a third person narrator, and the genre is drama.

I enjoyed reading the short story, it keeps the reader wanting to know what will happen next. Through it I, and through analyzing the story and the setting, I learned how women lived in the 19th century, where they were not given all their rights and were prisoners of their husbands. Where today women have many options, they have their rights and the opportunities in many fields, and can even be more successful than men can.
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