Dr. Salah Shrouf
May 12, 2012
“Free! Body and Soul Free!”:
Who shall prevent Mrs. Mallard not to live freely and artlessly? Symbolism in “The Story of an Hour”
In “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin, the writer uses several meaningful symbols in order to relay a feeling of joy, surprise, desire, and sympathy. Mrs. Mallard, who was an ill-hearted, decided to enter her room alone after she had heard the news of her husband’s death. “She did not hear the story as many women have heard the same, with a paralyzed inability to accept its significance,” Chopin claims (33). Mrs. Mallard is contrasted with other women who sit paralyzed by such news and who refuse to accept at least the significances of such news. The room in which Mrs. Mallard sits symbolizes her hard, rough, but also promising life. Therefore, she entered her room and sat on her armchair which is described as “comfortable” and “roomy”, so using such adjectives has had an effect in changing Mrs. Mallard’s personality. Using symbolism by Chopin in her short fiction indicates that she wants to convey many expressive images and illustrations about the exact situation of her age. “Further, Chopin uses nature as a symbol of the powerful emotions, which creates design and harmony” Selina Jamil argues (215). Jamil wants to explain something and it is that Chopin also uses nature as a metaphor in order to personify the real feelings of Mrs. Mallard while looking outside from her “open window”. Chopin also uses some Sawayfa 2
expressions, words, and idioms as symbols. For example, Mrs. Mallard drinks in the “elixir of life,”, has a “feverish...