The Story of an Hour: An Analysis of Mrs Mallard Thoughts and Feelings


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In the short story "The Story of an Hour", Kate Chopin describes an hour of a woman, a new widow seems to be, who incidentally recognizes a new free life and enjoys it just in a short moment; one hour right after getting a news of her husband's death in an accident. She has everything and nothing all in the same moment "an hour." The author delves into Louise's thoughts and feelings, and they surprisingly contradict her initial description of her. It is this intimate look at Louise that reveals the true cause of her death.

The first description that Chopin gives of Louise is her heart trouble. The author uses the article "a" in this phrase to emphasize that Mrs. Mallard suffered from a very specific aliment, not just "heart trouble" in general. The particular disease is later identified as oppression by her husband. Louise's sister, Josephine and Richards treat Louise with great care as though she is fragile. They are afraid that breaking the news of her husband's death to her may be harmful to her condition. We are introduced to the world of Louise Mallard's from a bird's point of view. This effectively illustrates what is seen by those close to Louise, and why the story ends with their misunderstanding of her.

As she is told the news, Louise goes to her room to be alone. The fact that "she would have no one follow her" could possible symbolize the beginning of her acceptance and understanding that "she would live for herself." She wanted to be alone in order to allow her emotions to react freely to the news of her husband's death. While her initial reaction to the news is one of mourning, Louise is increasingly aware of her liberation. Louise was experiencing an overwhelming sense of freedom, "Free! Body and soul free!." Her confined happiness broke through when her husband died.

With the belief that her husband is dead, she feels that a new beginning can happen for her, and the author shows this by describing the patches of blue sky that Louise sees outside her window. For Louise Mallard, the patches of blue sky represent the ending of her storm. The unhappiness in marriage may explain why Louise was actually welcoming and looking forward to her years without her husband Brently, but her opening and spreading of her arms foreshadows her eventual death.

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. Her suffering in life and love was ended with the news of Brently's death (although untrue) and eventually her own death. The last line tells us she dies of the ''joy that kills" but we know that she, in fact, died of the disappointment that kills.

Louise Mallard is seen by the reader as dependent and helpless because of how she was treated by others. Seeing her intimate thoughts, we see she is not what she appears to be. The final scene is one of tragedy, but what makes it even more so is how Louise was once again misunderstood.



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