The Guilt that Kills in Kate Chopin´s The Story of an Hour

568 Words2 Pages
The Guilt that Kills
“The Story of an Hour” (Chopin 353-354) by Kate Chopin, is a short story about a young lady, Louise Mallard, who has her life turned upside down in an elapsed time of an hour. Louise has just been informed of her husband, Brently’s, death due to a railroad disaster. Louise has heart trouble and this tragic news begins to take a toll on her. Louise’s sister, Josephine, is aware of her heart trouble so naturally becomes concerned when Louise starts to sob and locks herself in her room. Desperately trying to get Louise out of her room before she becomes ill, Josephine finally gets her out and they continue to walk downstairs. Just as they make it downstairs, the front door opens and in walks Brently, alive. Doctors eventually arrive and explain how Louise has died from a heart attack brought on by happiness. In Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour”, it is said that there is a “joy that kills” (354). Is it the guilt from having any remote feeling of joy that kills, or truly the joy itself that kills? It is in fact, the guilt that kills.

In S. Selina Jamil’s essay “Emotions in the Story of an Hour.” (Jamil, 215-220), She talks about how “Kate Chopin focuses on a late nineteenth century American woman’s dramatic hour of awakening into selfhood, which enables her to live the last moments of her life with an acute consciousness of life’s immeasurable beauty” (215). There is a sort of forbidden joy of having independence and awakening selfhood. In “The
Open Document