Story Of An Hour By Kate Chopin Essay

Decent Essays
In order for women to acquire freedom and gain power, they must fight and emancipate every oppression they suffer from to prove that the once oppressed can and will become among the most successful. In her short fictional story entitled “The Story of an Hour”, author Kate Chopin gives the tragic death of Mrs. Mallard’s husband an ironic context in which she deals with moving from oppression to freedom. She brilliantly intertwines her themes with symbolism and situational irony to reflect the historical impact for her gender of the time.
In her story, Chopin mainly pools the themes she uses to shape her plot from the gender issues in a historical context about women’s lives of the time. She links events of her own life to her “Story of an Hour”.
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For instance, she explains freedom as a way of looking into a better future by escaping injustice and oppression. On the first hand, the “open square before her house” (Chopin 428) she refers to in the essay symbolizes the window through which she would let Mrs. Mallard escape from her painful past and bitter present into a future where she would think more about living for herself. Furthermore, Chopin employs “the notes of a distant song” (Chopin 428) as a symbol for the joy Mrs. Mallard would acquire by liberating herself from the bounds of marriage. The “countless sparrows … twittering in the eaves” (Chopin 428) show through the flying movement of the birds that Mr. Mallard’s widow would gain back the taste of life and fly with her own wings now that he died. On the other hand, emphasizing on the oppression Mrs. Mallard suffered from in her marriage, Chopin also uses imagery related to the human body. For example, she brings up that “the look of terror that had followed [her] went from her eyes”, “her pulses beat fast, and the coursing blood warmed and relaxed every inch of her body” (Chopin 429). By this brief description of the relief Mrs. Mallard feels in front of the window, Chopin intends to show the severity of the oppression, emphasizing on the personal victory she feels from becoming…show more content…
She illustrates the issue first through Mr. Mallard’s death that creates his wife’s mixed feelings of grief and happiness (Chopin 429). According to Mrs. Mallard, the positive part of the story resides in the fact that she acquires her freedom and self-esteem back long years after engaging in her marriage which she indirectly describes as a state of imprisonment with a person she has to be submissive to. The irony comes towards the end with the narrator mentioning “a joy that kills” (Chopin 429). When Mr. Mallard actually crosses the door, Chopin describes the wife so shocked by his return that she immediately surrenders to death from desolation and despair (Chopin 429). His sudden yet unexpected return washes away the brief moment of freedom she dreams of in front of the window, that leads her to take the initiative to strive for it after his death. Frustrated and determined to make a difference, Chopin’s intent for creating such a tragic story resides once again in her will to relate her personal struggles from being “restrained under Catholic dogma at home” (Snodgrass) to her writings about the “revolt against double standard” (Snodgrass). She also wishes to continue supporting women of her time by showing the struggles in their battles for freedom and independence from men’s
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