The Story of an Hour

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In Kate Chopin’s 1894 work, “The Story of an Hour”, symbolism and figurative language are utilized to express the central theme of freedom. Mrs. Mallard believes the she has been granted freedom in the form of the death of Brently Mallard, and, ultimately, finds freedom from her unhappy marriage in death.

The author immediately starts off by mentioning Mrs. Mallard’s heart trouble, which could symbolize her unhappy marriage. Chopin also tells of how Mrs. Mallard doesn’t take the bad news of her husband’s death as most women would, but, instead, “she wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment,” (page 1)

Later, in Mrs. Mallard’s room, she sits in an armchair facing window. Chopin writes the she is “pressed down by a physical exhaustion that haunts her body and seems to reach into her soul.” (page 1) She is deeply tired from her frenzied mourning. Out of the window, she can see the tops of the trees outside, which Chopin describes as “all aquiver with the new spring life,” (page 1), this could represent the new life that Mrs. Mallard believes she has been given. Also mentioned are “patches of blue sky showing here and there through the clouds,” (page 1) which could represent a “bright side” to the death of Brently Mallard.

The central theme is even further reinforced as Mrs. Mallard’s grief continues to fade awat, and a “strange feeling” take hold of her, though she tries to fight it off. The mysteriously described feeling creeping towards her is made known to the reader when Mrs. Mallard begins to chant the word “free” under her breath. It is now clear the Mrs. Mallard is more excited about her husband’s death than saddened.

The main theme is ultimately expressed in the final paragraph. As Mrs. Mallard strides victoriously from her room, she is met with the horrific sight of her husband, Brently Mallard, alive and well. The shock of seeing her husband , apparently back from the dead, causes Mrs., Mallard to fall to the floor, dead, forever freeing her from...
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