The Story of An Hour, by Kate Chopin


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The main character in this story is Louise Mallard, a delicate woman whose life is changed with the announcement of her husbands’ death, delivered by her sister and a family friend.
Louise receives the news with overwhelming grief and tears where others would have been shocked into disbelief. Her grief is short lived as she begins to imagine her future alone. Any burdens Louise had felt were lifted at her thoughts of being free to live for herself. As she sits in her room digesting all the mixed emotions running through her mind and heart, Louise experiences the fact that her marriage of discontent was over. Unbeknownst to others, she longed for independence and a will of her own.
Although Louise was loved by her husband and she at times loved him, it was her deep need for self-reliance that turned this otherwise somber occasion into one of joy. The repression of her marriage was over and it was this comfort that allowed Louise to recover from the news quickly. At her sister’s insistence, she comes out of the room, appearing calm and serene.
As they descend the stairs, they hear a lock turning in the door and her husband walks in, very much alive. The shock, combined with the sudden realization that she would never be her own person, Louise dies upon seeing her husband. It was thought by the doctor that it was heart disease that killed Louise, but it was more likely the fact her dreams had died in that moment.
The overall mood of this story was melancholy, filled with emotions of sadness, relief and joyful anticipation, shown in the descriptions of life from the bedroom window; spring in the air, the peddler with his ware, birds singing and blue skies showing through the clouds.
We all can identify with the feelings of restlessness or being stifled at some points in our lives. It can occur with our jobs, children, and our chaotic lifestyles or maybe in our marriages.

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Of course we probably wouldn’t have the same reactions as Louise, given this is a different century and women are strong willed with many equal lives as men.
I thoroughly enjoyed this story for a few reasons; the emotions were like a roller coaster ride, which held my attention and I felt sorry for Louise, and the irony of the ending when it was apparent Louise would never have the life she craved.


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