“The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin

Abstract

This paper explores the possible ways of incorporating quotations and writing about an interesting character and theme in the story of Kate Chopin, “The Story of an Hour”. The theme focuses on Chopin’s view of Mr. and Mrs. Mallard’s marriage, an empty or contented marriage; also this paper focuses on the false news and false hopes that befall Mrs. Louise Mallard; how she reacted upon hearing the “news” about her alleged dead husband, knowing the fact that she is inflicted with heart trouble, emotionally or physically, and how she artistically expresses her liberal hopes despite her failing health.

Overview

The story introduces Mrs. Louise Mallard suffering from heart trouble; it is possible that her failing health condition greatly affects the flow of the story. The writer uses a superlative degree, “great care,” in describing how the news is conveyed to her by her sister Josephine.

Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with a heart trouble, great care was taken to break to her as gently as possible the news of her husband’s death.”

It is a fact that her sister Josephine hesitated in surprising her with somewhat “bad” news of her supposed dead husband, Brently Mallard. Mrs. Mallard, above all the

“widows”, is given a special treatment of receiving the news.

She did not hear the story as many women have heard the same, with a paralyzed inability to accept its significance. She wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment, in her sister’s arms. When the storm of grief had spent itself she went away to her room alone. She would have no one follow her.”

What is so surprising in this story is how the couple lived as husband and wife. Contrary to the idea that the wife must love his husband more, Mrs. Mallard shows no significant affection for him.

And yet she had loved him–sometimes. Often she had not. What did it matter! What could love, the unsolved mystery, count for in the face of this possession of self-assertion which she suddenly recognized as the strongest impulse of her being!”

Moreover, she shows a strong desire for freedom of both his body and soul. Probably she suffers a terrible life living with Brently Mallard, probably abused or abandoned, so she is seeking for serene life.

“Free! Body and soul free!” she kept whispering.”

But to her surprise, her hopes for liberty soon vanished as she saw her husband, which simultaneously ends her life and the story.

Someone was opening the front door with a latchkey. It was Brently Mallard who entered, a little travel-stained, composedly carrying his grip-sack and umbrella. He had been far from the scene of the accident, and did not even know there had been one. He stood amazed at Josephine’s piercing cry; at Richards’ quick motion to screen him from the view of his wife.”

What a mysterious death and somewhat tragic love story it had been as Chopin’s ended the story by mixing irony and seriousness, leaving unsolved questions and complex ideas of his perceived marriage.

When the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease—of the joy that kills.”

References

Chopins, Kate. “The Story of an Hour.” Bedford Introduction to Literature 8th edition Michael Meyer. Web.