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The Story of an Hour: Mrs. Mallard's Ethically Tragic Song

Kate Chopin wrote a short story called, “Story Of An Hour”, and it’s about a woman, Mrs. Mallard, who received the news that her husband was a train wreck and has died. Devastated by her husband’s unexpected death, she excuses herself and immediately rushes to her bedroom where we saw a different side of Mrs. Mallard. She has taken on a new behavior of lifestyles now. She is upset about her husband’s unexpected death, however; she has something to be ecstatic about it.

Now that her husband has passed away, is she happy because she is now her own person? Or is Mrs. Mallard genuinely upset that her husband has passed?

The theme in the story is freedom. As the story starts when finds out that her husband has died in train wreck and she was surprised when she received the news. She reacted to this horrifying news like anyone else would. She rushed off to her room to be away from everyone that wanted to see her.

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Yes, she is upset that her husband is dead but she becomes happy about it as the story goes on. “When she abandoned herself a little whispered word escaped her slightly parted lips. She said it over and over underneath her breath: “free, free, free!” The vacant stare and the look of terror that had followed it went from her eyes. They stayed keen and bright. Her pulses beat fast, and the coursing blood warmed and relaxed every inch of her body“ (Chopin 15).

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When it talks about her pulse beating fast some people may think that means when people has a crush on each other. For example, if someone sees a person they like all the time, their heart and pulse can beat faster when they are around them.

Once she has “abandoned” herself, the reader realizes that her love is to be “free, free, free.“ Her recognition is evident in the “coursing blood that warmed and relaxed every inch of her body.“ We learn that, although Mr. Mallard was a loving husband, Mrs. Mallard felt trapped in her marriage. As a result of society’s expectations for married women: she whispers the word “Free!” over and over, in disbelief that she has been set free of these expectations by her husband’s passing. She acknowledges that he loved her but that she had to “bend her will” in their relationship.

At this point Mrs. Mallard is being reborn. She isn’t in the shadow following her husband all the time. As she walked up to her window she saw that spring has finally arrived. Winter has died and spring is being born. The same applies for Mrs. Mallard; winter being her husband that has died and spring being her newfound freedom has been born. “She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life. The delicious breath of rain was in the air. In the street below a peddler was crying his wares. The notes of a distant song which someone was singing reached her faintly, and countless sparrows were twittering in the eaves” (Chopin 5). This creates an “open” atmosphere that leads to the “delicious” outside where there are inviting sounds. There’s a definite tension between the inside and outside worlds.

Instead of dwelling on death and sadness, Mrs. Mallard seems to notice only signs of “new spring life”: the scent of rain that has just ended is “delicious” and she hears the little birds “twittering” all around. Further, she notices someone singing as well as a peddler calling out the names of the things he has for sale. Moreover, spring is often associated with new life as a result of trees and flowers blooming again and new animals being born after winter: Mrs. Mallard came alive after learning her husband’s death rather than being brought low because of it. Her response, as seen during this quotation, is quite the opposite of what one would anticipate. The new spring life that she notices outside — the uncaged birds and so forth — seems to suggest that she can now conceive of herself as “free” when she could not before.

Mrs. Mallard knows now that she only has herself. She does no longer have to make everyone happy but herself. She does no longer have to answer to anyone but herself.

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The Story of an Hour: Mrs. Mallard's Ethically Tragic Song. (2020, Sep 18). Retrieved from http://studymoose.com/the-story-of-an-hour-mrs-mallards-ethically-tragic-song-essay

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