On “The Story of an Hour”
“The Story of an Hour,” a short story by Kate Chopin, details the events of the short hour when Mrs. Mallard finds out her husband has died, only to see him walking through the door. Chopin makes it clear through the structure of the story that the irony of these events is no coincidence; there is conflict when people are oppressed and their soul has no joy or freedom. It is clear in the exposition that Mrs. Mallard is afflicted with heart trouble, implying she is weak, both physically and emotionally. Her sister Josephine and her husband’s friend, Richard, know how fragile she is so, “great care was taken” to break the news of Mr. Mallard’s death. Following the news of her husband’s death, Mrs. Mallard, “wept at once…in her sister’s arms,” showing her dependence on others. As the immediate feeling of grief spent itself, she went up to her room to be alone with her thoughts. Although she is at first weak, someone who is completely emotionally unstable would not be so willing to go be alone in her room to grief. There is obviously some want to be self dependent and free. The story’s rising action builds through a series of scenery descriptions. After Mrs. Mallard has gone up to her room, she faces an open window. The blue sky “showing here and there” and “countless sparrows” twittering outside were mentioned, symbolizing happiness and peace. Mrs. Mallard is then described by the narrator as a woman with “a dull stare in her eyes,” as she fixed her gaze on the blue sky, as if finally realizing that they were there.
The details of the rising actions transition into the climax, where Mrs. Mallard feels an emotion “approaching to possess her.” After the realization that “there would be no one to live for” for the rest of her life Mrs. Mallard continues to whisper under her breath, “Free! Body and soul free!” This moment is filled with joy; however a turn of events could be predicted to come soon as she prayed “that life might be long.” At...
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