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Story of an Hour Essay

The short story “The Story of an Hour” was written by Kate Chopin and can be found in The Bedford Introduction to Literature by Michael Meyer on Page 15. Louise Mallard is a woman who deals with forbidden joy and an oppressed marriage all in which create the central meaning and the conclusion of the story. For Louise Mallard the joy of freedom and individuality only existed when she was secluded from her husband. She was afflicted with a “heart trouble” which can imply the emotional and physical problems she has been dealing and feeling with.

The heart trouble made Josephine and Richards carefully tell her of Brently’s death, she responded with such sorrow and unhappiness. Once alone Mrs. Mallard becomes brighter and excited, realizing and grasping that she is now a liberated woman. This is rare because it is unusual for a wife to become happy or be filled with joy after finding out that her husband has passed away. Mrs. Mallard’s emotions when she is isolated sitting on her chair looking at the window provides a better picture of how her marriage was a burden to her and shows how she becomes joyful of not having to be with her husband.

Her private thoughts were all overwhelmed with the opportunities she now had and all the things she can now do, things that were not possible with her husband. Those Feelings that only came out when she was by herself, such as dreaming about all the days, the rest of her life in hopes of living a love life, filled with freedom and joy. While Mrs. Mallard is fantasizing of the life she’s about to have in her private thoughts, there is a struggle within her on resisting the happiness she is feeling. Such struggle exposes how forbidden her joy is.

Realizing she is feeling joy, “When she abandoned herself a little whispered word escaped her slightly parted lips. She said it over and over under her breath: “free, free, free! ” ”(15), acknowledging this also makes her realize that humanity will never agree or understand her. It might be true, and hard to understand specially now that we live in the twenty first century and women have more command and rights, the evolution of women over time has entirely changed since from the time of what Louise Mallard was in. This can show the oppression women had of not being able to share their feelings or not being able to explore the world.

She will now have no one oppress her, her beliefs that women and men oppress each other. Louise takes Brently’s death as emancipation from oppression, “And yet she had loved him- sometimes. ” It is not said how Brently oppressed her but implying how a marriage suppresses both woman and men. She then feels overjoyed with her newfound sense of independence. Knowing that she is now free, and that she has many years ahead of freedom she opens her arms to welcome anything coming her way in hopes of a long and joyous life.

Lastly, when the front door suddenly opens, Brently appears, he had no idea of what was going on and was not aware that there was a train accident. Josephine and Richards do try to make Mrs. Mallard take the news easy in a tranquil way because of her heart problem but it failed. The doctors come and pronounced that Mrs. Mallard had died of a heart problem, somewhat a heart attack. Finding out that Brently was not dead was as if he had snatched the freedom and joy Louise was having, again her desires becoming out of touch.

What she had and was feeling (happiness, independence) when she was informed of her husband’s death was taken away the minute her husband walked back into the house. Her forbidden joy from an oppressed marriage shows that Louise knowing that the joy she had been soon gone killed her. The freedom she had felt for about an hour took her life away with a “heart trouble” and was sufficient to kill her. Brently’s death gave Louise a sight, or a “preview” of the life she has always wanted and once that life was taken away from her she became surprised and distressed, which is what killed her.


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