Themes in The Story of an Hour

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The Story of an Hour

The Story of an Hour is a diminutive narrative composed by Chopin Kate on the 19th of April, 1894 and it was published on December 6, 1894 in Vogue. Originally, it was written and originally published with the heading 'The Dreamer of an Hour.' The heading of this narrative refers to the instance elapsed between the times at which the central character, Mrs. Mallad, hears that her husband is deceased and later finds that he is living after all. The tale was considered to be contentious at some point in the 1890s as it deals with female main character who feels liberated by the information of her husbands' passing. Nevertheless, she had a further shocker pending before her anticipation came to conclusion. This paper therefore seeks to connect the short story, the story of an Hour, to the books larger themes and its impacts to the readers and the society at large.

The Emotions of Mrs. Mallard

The story of an Hour is brief written narratives that focus on a series of emotion that lead character, Louise Mallard faces on discovering that her husband has passed on in a train calamity (Chopin 44). Given that she has heart problems, her sister takes precautionary measures of informing her of the news in a gentle way possible so as to avoid causing her more health issues. After receiving the sad news, Mrs. Mallard looks herself in her room to mourn her husband, but after some time, she felt excited. She then concluded that the death of her husband is freedom; free soul and body. In the end of the story, it becomes clear that Mr. Mallard did not die in the accident and he was truly living. On going back home, Mrs. Mallard fainted and died. The cause of her death was unidentified. It is possible that her death might be of the realization that she will not be free since her husband was still alive (Chopin 45). Therefore, in the Story of an Hour, the inherent oppressive of marriage theme is clear, in that marriage is repressive and liberation from it is sweeter and this can be connected to the women liberation movements in our society today.

The Oppressive Nature of Marriage

Mrs. Mallard believes that marriage limits both partners in marriage. The story focuses on a person's inner desire for freedom like she hoped. From the narrative, it is obvious that Mrs. Mallard's yearning for liberty far outweighs her adoration for her husband (Chopin 46). This conviction today in our culture is contentious as the story was written a long time ago when civilization was still conventional. Throughout the publishing of this tale, the subject of marriage against freedom was regular. Marriage had turned into an obstacle for women as they had wishes to accomplish goals that looked further than marriage.

The Forbidden Joy of Liberty

On the other hand, the theme of forbidden joy of liberty is present in the small story. In the story, freedom is only anticipated. When Louise heard from Josephine and Richard of Bentleys' passing away, she reacts with a lot of sorrow, and even though her response is maybe more aggressive than other ladies, it is a good one. Alone, Louise realized that she was now liberated, a notion that excites and enlivens her. Even though this is her personal imaginations, she at initially tries to hush up the happiness she felt. Such struggle reveals how prohibited this happiness was (Chopin 47). When at last acknowledges the pleasure, she was crazed by it and she shouted, 'free'. Louise's life gives no safe haven for this sort of joy; the rest of the world will never recognize it or comprehend it even. Situation has given her the fruit of prohibited enjoyment, and her feelings are in turn tremendous. She views her life as being completely hers now and her new freedom as the center of her being. Beleaguered, Louise turns to pray, hopeful for long life in which to take pleasure in the new sensation. When Brent returned without knowing took Louise freedom away from her. The prohibited joy vanishes fast the same way it came, but its taste alone is enough to kill her.

The Symbolism and Themes

The story of an Hour's author uses symbolism to vibrantly emphasize the main themes and counterbalance the societal paradigms, charming the reader to comprehend the narrative from her point of view. From reading the story, the two main subject in the story presents to the readers the insight of how the society in the past viewed women. According to the natural oppressiveness of marriage subject, the readers can figure out how marriage was perceived as harsh and it is clearly shown that many women felt chained by it. Like Mrs. Mallard, she felt chained to her marriage that when she received the news of her husband's death, she felt liberated and did not even grieve for a long time because joy had overtaken her (Chopin 47). Moreover, we see that, instead of being glad that her husband was alive, Mrs. Mallard was frustrated by the fact that she fainted and died. Also, the story uses vivacious metaphors as apparatus for literacy to depict the unforeseen and persuade the readers to their own conclusion about the narrative.

The Role of Women in Society

Society in the 19th century anticipated women to maintain house, give birth and so on. Regardless of the hard work of women activists like Lucretia Mott and others, women had still not been granted the right to vote in the state-run elections. Also the employers did not employ them and if they did they gave them blue-collar jobs with smaller pay (Chopin 48). The story of an Hour suggests that Mrs. Mallard's husband perhaps natural of him subjugated her wife. Nevertheless, the coercion of the world made her feel culpable of her thoughts that she had a heart failure. The story is relevant to today's society as it figuratively teaches the morality of free will for everybody regardless of their gender.

The Inequality of Men and Women

In conclusion, the story of an Hour shows the inequality between men and women in the past whereby women are depressed under the men dominance as their head in the society at large while Mrs. Mallard reflects the typical image of the women in the past generation. Through her, the readers gets to understand the struggles that women faced in marriages and the extend they were willing to reach to find free-will. Also the story reflects on the role the whole society should play to promote peace and freedom. There is fight between liberty and life and Mrs. Mallards death is only incidental but unavoidable. Death is not just her positive action to fight for free will, but is unconsciousness. Nevertheless, the struggle is destined at the back of the accomplishment and could not be entertained by the public. Having enjoyed free will for one hour only, she had no alternative but to die so that she may get rid of constraints and achieve liberty thus the adage, life is valued and dearer but can be given up for free will.

Works cited

Chopin, Kate. "The Story of an Hour." The Bedford Introduction to Literature: Reading, Thinking, Writing, 11th ed, edited by Michael Meyer, Bedford/St. Martin's, 2013, pp. 43–48.

August 21, 2023



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