The Story of an Hour

In: English and Literature

Submitted By okudlata
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Can a person die of happiness? That’s what seems to happen in Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour”. Mrs. Mallard received the horrible news of her husband’s passing due to a train accident. However, as we read further into the story we realized that Mrs. Mallard is not that upset with her newfound freedom. But the narrative comes to a climax when Mrs. Mallard dies upon discovering that her husband is actually alive. Doctors pronounce the cause of death - “joy that kills”. It is debatable if someone could die from hearing good news. Mrs. Mallard believed that her husband died and she finally could be free to live her life, but was rudely awakened by seeing him alive. Her imaginative freedom was taken away from her and that’s what her heart couldn’t take. It was not the joy that killed Mrs. Mallard but rather discovering that her husband is alive and her freedom would be lost again, thus causing her death. The story takes place at a time when women were exploited, considered inferior to men. Women belonged at home, as an aide to her husband. Divorces were unheard of and flown upon. The opposite of society norm, Mrs. Mallard no longer wants to be tied down to her husband and marriage and we see it directly from the context of the story. Mrs. Mallard knows her place in society and would she suppose to do. Hearing the news at first, “she wept at once,” which is what we would expect a widow to do. But in her room, “there was something coming to her,” she whispers “"Free, free, free!" Louise is conflicted between her duty as a wife and her true feelings. As she absorbs the news she rationalizes that no one has a right “to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature”. She comes to conclusion she deserves to be free from social restraints of her marriage and she welcomes the change. Louise Mallard is looking forward to her future years, “that would belong to her absolutely.” She…...

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