22 September 2012
The Story of the Hour: Louise Mallard
In Kate Chopin’s, The Story of the Hour, “joy that kills”(pg. 525) is the last line of the story. This describes Mrs. Mallard’s gift of joy that was taken from her as quickly as it was given. Mrs. Mallard dies of a broken heart, which is ironic because it was not a heart made of love for her husband but, a heart full of joyful independence. Mrs. Mallard’s emotions and private thoughts are just as complex and confusing as the last words in the story “joy that kills”(pg. 525). It all starts with the news of her husband’s death. From there Mrs. Mallard experiences the feelings of sorrow, confusion, and the ability to be free. First, Mrs. Mallard experiences sorrow. When her sister, Josephine, reveals that Mr. Mallard had died; Mrs. Mallard begins to weep immediately in her sister’s arms. Chopin describes this scene as “the storm of grief” (pg. 523). The storm refers to the intense and immediate weeping response to the news. After Mrs. Mallard decides to sit in her room alone, Chopin states, “when a sob came up to her throat” (pg.524). This is describing Mrs. Mallard feeling numb but the unconscious feeling of sadness is still evident. It’s not until later when some of these tears start to sound more like tears of joy, instead of tears of sadness. Chopin goes onto say “she knew she would weep again when she saw the kind, tender hands folded in death”(pg. 524) This is the part of Mrs. Mallard that tells the reader that she loved her husband but, her independence is now on her mind. The emotion of independence was out weighing the mourning of Mr. Mallard’s death. Next, Mrs. Mallard starts to feel confused. As she gazes out her window she sees the tops of the trees, the new spring life, and breathes the delicious rain in the air. In this moment, she starts to contemplate her independence and new free life. At first, Mrs. Mallard embraces these thoughts as...
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