English 102 – DL
27 January 2013
Assignment 1 – Response Paper
“The Story of An Hour” written by Kate Chopin all takes place within a one hour time period. During this time Mrs. Mallard is informed of her husband, Brently Mallards, death by her sister and her husband’s friend. After hearing the news of her husband’s death Mrs. Mallard retreats to her room where she ponders her newly found fate. At the realization that she no longer has to live for anyone but herself Mrs. Mallard is overcome with a monstrous joy. After being pressed by her sister Mrs. Mallard starts to come down the stairs right as her husband, who in fact is not dead, is walking in. Mrs. Mallard then collapses to the floor. Dead. “When the doctors came in they said she had died of heart disease-of joy that kills.” (Kirszner and Mandell 116)The term “of joy that kills” can be understood in two different ways. One way is that she was so over joyed to see her husband again that the pure happiness she felt killed her. Another way to look at the last line is that when she saw her husband again she felt such a grave disappointment because of the fact that she would again be subjected to live under his rule that she died. The joy that killed Mrs. Mallard can be her tremendously exciting feelings when her husband reappeared before her eyes, completely unexpected. Deep down in her heart, she loved her husband though living with him made her depressed. The joy she felt with the freedom she found in her husband's death was clear, but no specific evidence pointed out that she absolutely Page 2
hated him. “She knew that she would weep again when she saw the kind, tender hands folded in death; the face that had never looked save with love upon her, fixed and gray and dead.” (Kirszner and Mandell 116) This quote shows that even though she was excited to have her life back to herself she did on some level love her husband and would weep again at his funeral. However, if we take the last line...