|Type of paper:||Essay|
|Categories:||Kate Chopin The Story of An Hour Gender in literature|
Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour" is all about a short narrative of a woman, Mrs. Mallard and her susceptibility to shock. Chopin describes Louise Mallard as a woman who is quickly susceptible to a heart attack (Tseng). The story begins with sad news to Louise Mallard as her husband is said to have been involved in a train accident. The late Mr. Mallard's friend, Richard, and Louise's sister, Josephine, hear about the ordeal, but they find a way to convey the message to Mrs. Mallard without provoking her heart frailty. At the beginning of the short story, Chopin describes Louise's weakness, however, as more of a physiological than a psychological condition. Later in the story, Kate Chopin implies that Mrs. Mallards was affected by overwhelming emotions that her heart could not withstand.
Everyone around Mrs. Mallard knows about the strength of her heart, so it took a while for her to receive the news. Richard and Josephine finally gather the courage to tell Louise about the incident. Typically, as every widow would react with outburst cries, Mrs. Mallard shed some tears and walked into her room. She grieves for a while but then her feelings about her freedom surpass the sorrow she feels for her husband's demise. As she is in her room, Mrs. Mallard contemplates about how she views the world as beautiful. According to Sabbagh et al., Kate Chopin includes a conflicting scenario in the story, where Louise feels a sense of freedom instead of deep sorrow for losing her spouse (299). Although Mrs. Mallard is sure that she will mourn eventually, Kate presents her as a woman who is still young and with a great future.
In the story, Kate names her main character the word Mallard, which is a duck species that flies around regularly. This symbolizes the sudden turn of events for Mrs. Mallard, as she is now free from the bondage of love and marriage (Call). Chopin includes the start of a new season, spring, right after Louise realizes she values her freedom more than her relationship. This symbolizes the beginning of a new life to which Mrs. Mallard wants to be in full control. In a few moments, Josephine becomes curious about her sister's state and goes to check up on her. She is surprised by the condition that Mrs. Mallard is in, not of a mourning widow (Schmid). As they both go down the stairs, Louise is excited about her new free status and seems to have overcome her grief.
Just before they complete walking down the stairs, Mr. Mallard walks in, safe and sound without any signs of harm. Richard tries to step in front of him to prevent Louise from seeing him for the sake of her heart condition. Kate describes the sudden demise of Mrs. Mallard as one that was caused by a "joy that kills" (Chopin). Louise's heart could not withstand her overwhelming state of freedom, the feeling that her husband was still alive, and sadness also as a result of Mr. Mallard's return. Kate Chopin symbolizes that Louise's death could have been caused by two factors; the triumph and sorrow about Brently Mallard's return. Mrs. Mallard's death, therefore, was caused by more of her psychological than the physiological state of her heart.
Call, Tanner. "Patriarchy & Feminism in the Early 20th Century: Finding Middle Ground Through Kate Chopin." (2017).
Chopin, Kate. The story of an hour. Joe Books Ltd, 2018.
Sabbagh, Mahmoud Reza Ghorban, and Mehri Ghafourian Saghaei. "Conjured-Up Reality Shattered: Examining the "Uncertain" Ideology Underlying Chopin's "The Story of an Hour"." Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences 158 (2014): 296-303.
Schmid, Daniel. "Male Dominance and Female Powerlessness in Kate Chopin's" The Story Of An Hour"." (2017).
Tseng, Chia-Chieh. "Joy That Kills": Female Jouissance in Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour." Short Story Journal(2016).
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