Aalysis of “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin

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Kate Chopin’s, The Story of an Hour, is captivating tale telling the story of all the different conflicting emotions and revelations a human can experience given a grave situation. Although short in length this story does not lack depth and is charged with ominous overtones. The Story of an Hour speaks true the dilemma women of this era had felt, and not only speaks volumes about how women were not only oppressed in their marriages but how they were also submissive to the “rules” of society. This not only affects the self image that women had for themselves but also prevents them from fully utilizing all their potential. Mrs. Louise Mallard, the protagonist of the story, is a fine example of the conflicting emotions Victorian women must’ve felt after sinking in the news of their husband’s death. Death is always a melancholy subject and evokes deeps feelings of grief and pain, but it is not without sympathy that these women would feel a sense of freedom and joy. The only moderately respectable way for a women to carry out her own affairs independently was for her husband to die. Mrs. Mallard might not have been abused by her husband as it appeared she was treated with some degree of kindness, but her repressed feelings come from feeling as if there are theoretical chains binding her and keeping her back from the life she actually wants to live. Women became dominated at a very young age, often being married off by their family, and their husbands took control of their possessions and decisions. It is without doubt that many women longed to be free of the confines of their life and burdens they were born to bear. Chopin’s piece examines the repressed strength of Mrs. Mallard and the impact of society’s views regarding women.

Many women possessed strength that they never used because of the attitude society at that time upheld. Chopin implies that this strength is repressed when she describes Mrs. Mallard as having a face ‘whose lines bespoke repression and even a certain strength.’ (Page 783). Even though her sister, Josephine, and her husband’s friend, Richard showed great sensitivity to her revealing her husband death because of her “affliction with heart trouble” (Page 783) Mrs. Mallard shows to be an exceptionally strong woman who immediately begins to take her life into her hands and starts to make decisions and plans for her future. Women who had grown accustomed and dormant to male figures would have possibly been overwhelmed with all their new ideas and emotions and settle to marry another man to control them. Mrs. Mallard at once decides that she does not wish to have yet another man control her. ‘There would be no one to live for her during those coming years; she would live for herself. There would be no powerful will bending hers’ (Page 784). This implies for much of her life she was living purely to complete the duties she was pre-conceived to have and much of her likings and wants were never realized due to the lack of power she had in her marriage.

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When Mrs. Mallard is informed that her husband has died in a train wreck ‘she did not hear the story as many women have heard the same, with a paralyzed inability to accept its significance. She wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment’ (Page 635). The story says that ‘her husband’s friend, Richards, was there too, near.’ (Page 635) Society would say that the two women, Mrs. Mallard and her sister, Josephine, are too weak to be able to deal with the news, so the man, Richards, has to be near them to be the stabling factor. The male-dominated society paints women as being weak and completely unable to deal with bad news.

It takes a great deal of strength to deal honestly with one’s emotions. After Mrs. Mallard is informed of her husband’s death she expresses her deep pain, but she soon experiences the exhilaration of freedom rather than the desolation of loneliness. ‘Now her bosom rose and fell tumultuously. She was beginning to recognize this thing that was approaching to possess her… When she abandoned herself, a little whispered word escaped her slightly parted lips. She said it over and over under her breath: ‘free, free, free!’ The vacant stare and look of terror that had followed it went from her eyes. They stayed keen and bright’ (Page 636). She realizes that her husband’s death is just the beginning of her new, independent life where she is free to make her decisions and to do as she pleases. She knows that there will no longer be a will that is constantly regarded as superior to hers, and that no one will always be directing her every move.

Mrs. Mallard’s inferiority had been ground so deeply within her that she had to learn to recognize her self-worth and freedom. Ultimately, Mrs. Mallard has the courage to deal with these new ideas. When Mrs. Mallard learns that her husband, Brently, still lives, she knows that all hope of freedom is gone. This crushing disappointment kills her once she realizes that her newfound freedom is lost.

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Aalysis of “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin. (2022, Aug 10). Retrieved from


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