Throughout the story, Chopin adds bits of foreshadowing to hint at the demise of Mrs. Mallard. On the opening page of the story, the first sentence states, “Knowing Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with heart trouble, great care was taken to break her...husband's death” (6). This sentence leads the reader to believe that Mrs. Mallard is already gravely ill. On the final page of the story, Mrs. Mallard argues with her sister, Josephine, who fears that Mrs. Mallard is making herself sick from heartbreak. Mrs. Mallard shouts, “Go away. I am not making myself ill” (8). This foreshadows that she is already making herself sick.
“But she saw beyond that bitter moment a long procession of years to come that would belong to her absolutely” (Chopin 157). She feels free from the obligations to her husband that was forced upon her during the Victorian era and she is looking forward to the years of independent freedom that are yet to come. “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” (157). Mrs. Mallard did not want to submit to the oppressor, who in this case, was her husband. She wanted to make her own decisions and didn’t want to take orders from her husband. She was forced to live that way because her husband controlled her. Once she found out that he was supposedly dead, she felt free from the male oppression that she had been a victim of since the day she and her husband exchanged vows. Mrs. Mallard would rather live for herself and not have to live for her husband, and his alleged death allowed her to live for herself without getting a divorce, so her society wouldn’t look down upon her.
Written in 1894, “The Story of an Hour” is a story of a woman who, through the erroneously reported death of her husband, experienced true freedom. Both tragic and ironic, the story deals with the boundaries imposed on women by society in the nineteenth century. The author Kate Chopin, like the character in her story, had first-hand experience with the male-dominated society of that time and had experienced the death of her husband at a young age (Internet). The similarity between Kate Chopin and her heroine can only leave us to wonder how much of this story is fiction and how much is personal experience.
Josephine, who is her sister, is concerned that she may be harming herself and is persistent in her quest to be admitted to the room. The entire story is centered on saving Mrs. Mallard right from the time the breaking of the sad news of her husband's demise had to be done in a way that would not be fatal to her up to the time when her husband returns home and Richard tries to shield her from seeing her husband from the fear that she will suffer an attack due to the huge surprise (Berkove 153).
Setting in a story can create certain moods, influence the way we feel about a character, and change the reader's perceptions. “The Story of An Hour” by Kate Chopin is a short story about a woman named Mrs. Mallard, who learns of her husband’s death. This tragic news causes a range of emotions and internal conflict for the main character. The century, season, and room, in which the story takes place, prepares readers for the overflowing emotions and gives clarity to the character’s frame of mind. Kate Chopin uses the setting to help set the structure of the story.
Mrs. Mallard finds out that her husband has just died, "she wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment." The character of Josephine is there to represent her conflict against society. As the story starts up, she as Mrs. Mallard turns to her sister Josephine and weeps in her arms after hearing the sudden news of her husband's death. This is her acknowledging the grief that society expects her to feel. Her openness to Josephine represents the acceptance that came with acting in accordance with what society expected. Mrs. Mallard displays her strength, “When the storm of grief … away to her room alone.” The fact that she does not bring Josephine with her implies the conflict that is about to take place." Josephine is the social norms, assuming that she is weak without her husband by her side. Mrs. Mallard's isolation from this assumption represents that she has strength and can stand on her own. This expected strength is confirmed as Chopin writes, "Josephine was kneeling … lips to the keyhole”, imploring for admission. "Louise, open the door! … before you make yourself ill." The closed door to Josephine shows her decision to close her
Mrs. Mallard’s heart trouble is symbolic of her broken relationship with her husband, Brently. Of all the possible health issues that Mrs. Mallard could have been battling, it is heart trouble that she if faced with. It is noted that Josephine speaks “in broken sentences; veiled hints” (Chopin, “The Story”), so that the news of Brently’s death is revealed to Mrs. Mallard as carefully as possible. However, the news of her husband’s death actually brings a new life to Mrs. Mallard: “Her pulses beat fast, and the coursing blood warmed and relaxed every inch of her body” (Chopin, “The Story”). Mrs. Mallard’s marriage has confined her to her home and has caused the loss of her freedom, which is represented by her heart trouble. Her death is not caused by the joy of seeing her husband like the doctors thought, but rather due to a loss of joy, as she loses her newly found independence upon seeing Brently walk through the front door. Chopin shares: “When the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease – of joy that kills” (“The Story”). The window in Mrs. Mallard’s bedroom also serves as an important symbol in the story, representing Mrs. Mallard’s freedom. Upon seeing the beauty throughout the streets as she looks out her window, Mrs. Mallard is finally able to realize that the rest of her life is full of countless possibilities (Rosenblum,
The “Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin is a short story about a woman who struggles with the oppression she experiences at the hands of her husband and her secret desire for independence. Louise Mallard didn’t realize how upset she was in her marriage until she found out about her husband’s death. She grieves for only a short period of time before mentally creating a new life for herself. This new life she envisions help her to see the silver lining in a tragic event. Chopin uses symbolism throughout the story to portray the theme of a quest for identity.
When first reading Kate Chopin's "Story of an Hour," one may not typically be surprised at its ending, write it off as one of those creepy "back from the dead" horror stories and forget about it. There is more to this story than simply horror. The author is making a very strong, however subtle, statement towards humanity and women's rights. Through subtle symbolism, Kate Chopin shows how marriage is more like a confining role of servitude rather than a loving partnership.
Meanwhile, in the climax of the story Mrs. Mallard starts to realize that she is free from society’s standards of marriage and that there’s no one to live for with her chanting, “Free! Body and soul free!” With this being said, audiences can create a visual in mind that Mrs. Mallard will commit suicide and that no one will know about it. However, once Josephine takes her sister out of the room and her husband appears at the bottom of the stairs, the resolution of the story ends with Mrs. Mallard overcome by joy to see her husband but her heart gives in and she dies from a heart attack. All in all, the story’s impact on readers is how in a span of an hour, Mrs. Mallard dies of a
Mrs Mallard's awkward attitude after learning of her husband's death establishes an irony- somebody who is really happy in marriage will not enjoy nature in peace and have mixed emotions; the person will feel genuine grief upon hearing of the death of her husband. Here, Mrs Mallard's reaction portrays the extent to which her thirst for freedom was strong. Kate Chopin allows us to visualise the moment that Mrs Mallard is able to shed the bondage of marriage: "free, free, free!." She feels liberated through her husband's death. Much emphasis is laid on her joy upon finding freedom- "there would be no one to live for." The author also points out that "she knew that she would weep again.....folded in death." This only highlights the fact that it is not an expression of love but seems more like a duty that
While Mrs. Mallard remembers Mr. Mallard as a kind and tender man who loved her, she also viewed him as the oppression that marriage put upon women and men. While Mr. Mallard was kind and loving to his wife, he was also controlling and overbearing. Josephine, Mrs. Mallard’s sister and Richards, Mr. Mallard’s friend is there to break the news of Mr. Mallard’s death. Richards has learned of Mr. Mallard’s death at the newspaper office, not wanting to believe the information that was received, Richards waited for the new to be delivered for a second time before enlisting the help of Josephine. They are both there to support Mrs. Mallard and their support shows that they care for Mr. and Mrs. Mallard.
Kate Chopin's The Story of an Hour is a great story that conveys an important message about life and how difficult it can be for women, particularly in previous centuries. Back in the late 1800s and early 1900s, when this story was written, women were quite often mistreated and had to live restricted lives that lacked opportunity. Generally, women weren?t liberated during the 19th century. Traditionally, women did all the hard work in the house and had no opportunities to make their own living or pursue their own personal dreams. Kate Chopin does an outstanding job of portraying a woman living in these times. The Story of an Hour is a good depiction of the unspoken repression that women faced in the past. Kate Chopin's major theme of the
There are myriad levels of symbolism which Chopin invokes in order to express the principle theme of this work. The very fact that the protagonist of the story, Mrs. Mallard, learns that her husband has died symbolizes the fact that she is now free from his will and influence upon her life. However, Chopin chooses to express this notion most efficaciously by expressing Mrs. Mallard's newfound liberty or what she believes is her newfound liberty through the symbolism of spring, as the