In a handful of the reader’s time, Chopin is able to bring out a countless amount of themes in her short story “The Story on an Hour”, that are not only controversial, but fairly ahead of her time. Chopin uses her story to represent a negative view of marriage by presenting the reader with a protagonist who is clearly burdened by emotional struggles when she becomes a wife. Devastated by the sudden news regarding M. Mallard, Louise excuses herself and immediately runs to her bedroom where we see a change in her attitude and her face off with issues such as identity, oppression, freedom, and independence.
With the large variety of themes presented throughout the story, hope is difficult to identify. While Louise is up in her room, she is staring out her window, witnessing the leaving of winter and the bloom of spring; a sort of euphemism towards the hope of her blossoming into a new person after her husband’s death. “She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life. The delicious breath of rain was in the air. In the street below a peddler was crying his wares. The notes of a distant song which someone was singing reached her faintly, and countless sparrows were twittering in the eaves.” (Chopin 12) When M. Mallard is revealed at the ending of the story, the flame of hope that was so briefly ablaze in Louise’s heart is struck down, as well as her life.
Whereas hope is one of the smaller founding themes in this story, oppression is more blatantly obvious. It is unquestionable that Chopin’s writing implies even a seemingly happy marriage, such as M. and Mrs. Mallard’s, in a patriarchal society oppression takes place unwittingly. While Mrs. Mallard readily admits she loves her husband throughout the story, her joy is soon evident when the news her husband’s death reached her ears. “There would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have...
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