Literary Essay Sample: Themes in The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin

Published: 2022-09-16
Literary Essay Sample: Themes in The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Kate Chopin The Story of An Hour Gender in literature
Pages: 3
Wordcount: 621 words
6 min read

The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin delves into the unhappiness and lack of freedom that the institution of marriage brings. The wife of Brently Mallard receives news from her sister and Richard, a family friend, about the death of her husband. The news is delivered to her gently in order to avoid upsetting her since she has a weak heart that could lead to her death if stressed "Knowing that Mrs Mallard was afflicted with a heart trouble, great care was taken to break to her as gently as possible the news of her husband's death" (Chopin, 1). Typically Mrs Mallard weeps following the loss of her husband; however when she is in the confines of her room, she sees the silver lining in this tragic occurrence. She realises that she is finally free and tries suppressing this feeling her duty as a loving wife weighing down on her. Regardless of these feelings, Mrs Mallard finds herself whispering "Free! Body and soul free!" Kate Chopin in the books covers the theme of the forbidden joy of independence and the oppression that the union of marriage brings to individuals (Chopin, 2).

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Freedom is the central foundation of the text by Chopin. We see throughout the text that Mrs Mallard is restricted from exploring. She is confined to the house throughout the story. Her marriage is seen as restrictive as she feels free after finding out about her husband's death and she has a heart condition that prevents her from living her life to the fullest. Mrs Mallard seeks to change this conditions as she secretly rejoices in the death of her husband and she even goes ahead to hope and pray that she has a longer life in order to enjoy her freedom better. However, she keeps this joy a secret and is only able to enjoy it in the confines of her room (Chopin, 1). The theme reflects that as much as marriages are a happy affair they rob one of their personal freedom and independence. Marriage is built on love, and Mrs Mallard loved and adored her husband, but she felt that she had lost herself in the marriage.

The joy that came with freedom was short-lived, and Mrs Mallard gets a heart attack and dies when she finds out that her husband is alive. Louise loved her husband and even stated that he had been kind to her, the joy she feels when she hears about his death, therefore, is not founded on any feeling of malice against her husband but because of the freedom from the oppression of marriage. The themes in this book shed light on the oppression that marriage brings to both parties, it makes them dependent on each other and robs them of their happiness (Chopin, 1). The story is ironical and tragic at the same time as the news of her husband's death which was feared would kill her liberates her while the joy that is expected when she finds out her husband is alive is actually what kills her.

In conclusion, the story is meant to explore the general evils that the union of marriage brings upon individuals. The story targets the greater population and not only the marriage of Louise and Mr Bentley as we are told very little about their marriage. Additionally, the text seeks to show the constant self-discovery that women undergo to find their identity in a world dominated by men. She embodies a modern woman who has realised that service and submission to her marriage are not the only relevant things in a woman's life and that the pursuit of personal freedom and happiness is as essential.

Work Cited

Chopin, Kate. The story of an hour. Jimcin Recordings, 1981.

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