The Story of an Hour, a short story by Kate Chopin, is about a woman who, through the mistaken news of her husband’s death, experiences a new sense of freedom and joy. The main character, Louise Mallard, is a young woman with a heart condition that has been kept secret from her by her family.
When her husband’s friend comes to tell her the news of his death in a train accident, Louise is initially devastated. However, as she sits alone in her room, she begins to feel a sense of liberation. The events that follow – including her sister’s discovery of her true feelings and the tragic ending – serve to underscore the emotional power of Chopin’s story.
The Story of an Hour is significant for its accurate portrayal of human emotion. In the space of a single hour, Louise Mallard experiences a range of emotions – from sorrow to elation, from fear to freedom. This emotional journey is convincing and relatable, making The Story of an Hour an enduring classic.
Kate Chopin was a groundbreaking writer in her time, and The Story of an Hour is one of her most famous works. The story’s themes of freedom and joy after loss are still relevant today, making it a timeless piece of literature.
“The Story of an Hour,” by Kate Chopin is a powerful literacy composition that follows the main character as she goes through several emotional and behavioral changes. Despite the fact that the tale is quite brief, it is nevertheless quite elegant and complete, with each word carrying a more profound meaning than we may comprehend. Mrs. Mallard, the protagonist of the story, suffers a tragic loss that causes her to go through many distinct emotions.
The story starts off with Mrs. Mallard receiving the news of her husband’s death in a train accident. The first emotion that we see her experiencing is shock, “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” (Chopin 1). The doctors had told her sister and husband that she should not be too excited or she could possibly die from a heart condition, so they try to break the news to her gently. Even though they try to cushion the blow, she still ends up crying hysterically in her sister’s arms.
The next emotion that we see is Mrs. Mallard’s happiness and relief when she is alone in her room and she finally comes to the realization that her husband is dead and she is now free. “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!” 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 1). Even though she should be grieving, she is instead happy and relieved that she is finally free from her marriage. The next emotion is Mrs. Mallard’s fear when she hears her husband’s voice and footsteps coming up the stairs, only to find out that it was only her imagination.
“There stood, facing the open window, a comfortable, roomy armchair. Into this she sank, pressed down by a physical exhaustion that haunted her body and seemed to reach into her soul” (Chopin 1). She is so exhausted from all of the emotions that she has experienced that she sinks into the armchair and falls asleep.
The last emotion that we see Mrs. Mallard experiencing is peace when she finally comes to terms with her husband’s death and realizes that she is truly free. “When the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease—of joy that kills” (Chopin 1). Even though she dies, it is in a way that she is finally at peace and free from her marriage.
Mrs. Mallard is informed that her husband has died, and news of her health problems is delivered to her “as gently as possible” (45). Richards, who delivers the information to Josephine, believes that Mrs. Mallard will be devastated and inconsolable after hearing it.
However, upon hearing the news, Mrs. Mallard sinks into a chair and weeps silently for “a long time” (45). We are not given any indication of her thoughts or feelings during this time. It is only after she goes to her room and is alone that we learn her true reaction to her husband’s death.
At first, upon being told of Mr. Mallard’s death, Mrs. Mallard reacts with traditional female grief. She cries and is sad, but soon after she is left alone in her room, she begins to experience a range of emotions that are considered very untraditional for a woman at that time period.
She feels “a throb of joy” (46) when she thinks about how free she now is. She will no longer have to live under her husband’s control and can now do as she pleases. She feels “a sense of relief, almost triumph” (46) when she thinks about how her heart trouble will no longer be an issue because she will no longer be alive to experience it.
Kate Chopin’s The Story of an Hour presents us with a woman who is not only grieving but also feeling a range of other emotions that are considered very taboo for a woman in that time period. The story challenges the traditional ideas about female grief and emotion by presenting us with a woman who does not conform to societal expectations.
Mrs. Mallard’s character is a complex one, and her reaction to her husband’s death is not a simple or straightforward one. The story provides a nuanced and realistic portrayal of a woman’s inner thoughts and emotions, and Mrs. Mallard’s character stands in stark contrast to the traditional ideas about female grief and emotion that were prevalent in that time period.