How do the words, blood and pulse in "The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin affect the reader's response to context and text?
In "The Story of an Hour," Kate Chopin uses the words blood and pulse as Mrs. Mallard realizes she is actually pleased and relieved about her husband's death. As Mrs. Mallard recognizes her new freedom, Chopin writes, "Her pulses beat fast, and the coursing blood warmed and relaxed every inch of her body" (Chopin 546-548). The words blood and pulse in this story seemed to be in unusual contexts, since Mrs. Mallard was gloomy at first when hearing about her husband's death but then seems to become cheery. The words blood and pulse also appear to have other meanings as they stir up certain emotions. References in a few dream books show that blood is an important symbol of life. Blood also represents the soul, and of physical strength and rejuvenation. In "The Story of an Hour," Chopin described it as her fast beating pulse and coursing blood to describe the excitement of a new life. She seemed to be fragile when first hearing about her husband's death, but her fast beating pulse then represents her receiving of strength and power. The coursing blood is used to refer to Mrs. Mallard's vitality and renewal of the soul. The pulsating and flow of blood could also refer to Mrs. Mallard's newly-found passion and fervor taking over her entire body. Overall, the words pulse and blood evoked a sense of exhilaration and thrill when at an unexpected time of the story. The words used, also helped in understanding the type of character Mrs. Mallard was deep down, and how her real passion overruled her compassion.
Chopin, Kate. The Story of an Hour. Prentice Hall Literature The American Experience. New
Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1989. 546-548.
Miller, Gustavus Hindman. The Dictionary of Dreams 10,000 Dreams Interpreted. New York:
Prentice Hall Press, 1984.
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