Louise Mallard’s Power Hour
Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” is a short story that speaks wonders in its one thousand words. The unique reaction of Chopin’s character, Louise Mallard, to her husband’s supposed death and her resulting death upon seeing him walk through the door allows for various interpretations to be made by readers. Through the events and thoughts of Louise embodied in the story, Chopin implies the oppression and lack of independence in Louise’s marriage and the joyful freedom she is overcome with when she is led to believe that this confinement has been lifted off her shoulders. Through Louise's character and her specific feelings toward her own marriage, Chopin gives light into the oppression of marriage and its effects on our independence and self-assertiveness.
Many times throughout the short story, Chopin employs details of the freedom and liberation felt by Louise after hearing news of the death of her husband. Such feelings lead to implications of burden and oppression caused by the bondage of marriage. Following her grieving over the loss of her husband, Louise locks herself in her bedroom and speaks the words “free, free, free!” (Chopin 160) under her breath. This reaction to the death of someone she is supposed to love so much reveals details about Louise’s marriage with Brently. Louise does not react in the way we would expect a recently widowed woman to upon hearing such news. She is not “paralyzed with the inability to accept” it (Chopin 160), but feels freedom from the loss, as seen in her uttering of the word “free” three times. Along with speaking these words, Louise’s heart begins to “beat fast,” despite her “heart trouble," and “the coursing blood warm[s] and relaxe[s] every inch of her body” (Chopin 160, 159, 160). The quickening of Louise’s pulse in response to her elated emotions concerning the loss of her husband represents the moment she begins to gain back what has been lost in the oppression of living her...
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