Traditionally, women have been known as the less dominant sex. They have been stereotyped as being only housewives and bearers of the children. Many interesting characters in literature are conceived from the tension women have faced with men. This tension is derived from men; society, in general; and within a woman herself. Kate Chopin‘s short story, “The Story of an Hour”, focus on a woman’s dilemma near the turn of the 19th century. Contradicting the “normal” or sad assumption of death, “The Story of an Hour” illustrates the significance of death representing freedom. The Story narrates about an hour of Louise Mallard’s life, as she tries to understand, and deal with her feelings of her husbands death.
In "The Story of an Hour", Chopin suggests that in certain situations, the death of a loved one may be a blessing. Such situations may include an abusive relationship, or an unhappy marriage, as this story suggests. The circumstances in this story might lead the reader to believe that Louise's husband's death would cause her great pain. However, ironically she hears the news and feels a great sense of relief. This suggests that death may not always cause grief.
Louise's characteristics add to the theme of death representing freedom. One of her characteristics is her youth. This characteristic is important because it is symbolic of a fresh, new start at her life of freedom due to the death of her husband. She has her whole life to live by herself. She will be free to do what she wants to do, when she wants to do it. Another characteristic is her passion for living. She mentions that she will weep again when she is present at her husband's funeral, but she is able to look past that and look forward to "the years to come that would belong to her absolutely" (Chopin 16). Just when she is beginning to savor the sweet sense of freedom, her husband shows up at their house alive. When she sees him, she dies, not from the "joy that kills" (16) as the doctors say,...
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