Free Body and Soul: Lacked Women's Freedom in Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour"
Free Body and Soul: Lacked Women’s Freedom in Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” “The Story of an Hour” was written by Kate Chopin, who was a famous feminist writer in the late 19th centry - Free Body and Soul: Lacked Women's Freedom in Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour" introduction. Also, “The Story of an Hour” is one of the feminist masterwork in the world. In the short story, Louise was excited that she would no longer have to bend to her husband’s will. She was briefly described as “young, with a fair, calm face, whose lines bespoke repression and even a certain strength” (49). After she learned the death of her husband, she was sad at first. However, she quickly started to feel a kind of uncertain sense of freedom.
The happiness, which Louise gained by the death of her husband, was so strong that, when she realized her husband was alive in fact, she immediately fell apart. The doctor said, Louise was died because she was happy to see her husband, but most readers believed she was died of the sadness about losing the freedom of new life. When she heard the news of her husband was alive, she realized she was no longer free. Lawrence I. Berkove said,”Given her dissatisfaction with the best that life has to offer her and her unrealistic expectations of absolute freedom, therefore, there [was] no other option for Louise except death” (6).
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In this case, the death of Louise showed that she was desired the freedom. Therefore, in the short story, Chopin uses irony, imagery and symbolism to reveal the tragedy that women in that times lacked freedom. In Chopin’s story, she utilizes irony more than once to indicate Louise was eager to be free. When Chopin writes about Josephine, who was Louise’s sister, asking Louise to “open the door” (49), Chopin makes readers thinking about the mind of those two characters and shows the irony in this situation.
From Josephine’s remark, “open the door — you will make yourself ill. What are you doing, Louise? (49), we can easily know that Josephine thought Louise should be very upset because of the death of her husband and was very worried about Louise’s sadness that may cause her sick. Therefore, Josephine asked Louise to open the door to check out and comfort Louise. However, the mind of Louise was completely opposite from Josephine. She was so happy because of being free from the death of her husband. Also, when Chopin writes, “she had died of heart disease — of joy that kills”, Chopin leads readers to think the truth of Louise’s death and recognize the irony through the situation.
As we know, the doctor said, the death of Louise because she was so happy to see her husband was alive. Actually, she was not very happy to see her husband alive. On the contrary, she was so sad and surprised that her husband still alive. Also, she felt the freedom was lost and the desperation of life. “It has long been recognized that the story’s last line is ironic, but it is even more ironic than has previously been surmised” Therefore, the irony went through this situation. In the “The Story of an Hour”, Chopin employs imagery to describe how hungry for freedom Louise was.
When Chopin writes, “the trees, the rain, the air, the peddler’s voice, the notes of a song, the sparrows, the sky, and the clouds” (48-49), Chopin represents a picture of outside of Louise’s room window to indicate Louise wanted to be free and makes readers feel the changes of Louise’s mood. All those were beautiful images of life. Chopin helps readers see and feel the environment the Louise was in and shows the feeling of Louise that was like the biggest burden in her life had taken away. She repeated “free, free, and free” (49) and thought about the joys of not being a possession of her husband.
In addition, “Clearly, her new emotional freedom leads to the awakening of her mind” (S. Selina Jamil 2). Therefore, the mood of Louise was changed, from sad to happy. Due to she wanted to be free and the freedom brought new life to her, she was no longer to be sad and was happy to be free. In the story, Chopin use symbolism to emphasizes Louise was desired freedom. When Chopin writes, “she could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life”, Chopin makes readers feel Louise wanted to get changes or a new life and indicates problems inside of Louise’s marriage. spring life” symbolizes a new life was coming.
That’ means Louise hope there would be some changes in her life immediately. Also, it indicates Louise wanted to get out of the old life as fast as possible, so this may make readers think there are some issues inside of the marriage of Louise. Moreover, it easy to see Louise wanted to get out of this marriage and her husband’s death gave her a chance to find a new life. However,”Divorce was quite rare in the 1800s and if one was to occur, men were automatically given legal control of all property and children” (Jennifer Hicks 1).
Therefore, the death of her husband gave her only chance to get in a new free life. Furthermore, when Chopin writes, “knowing that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with a heart trouble”(48), Chopin emphasizes Louise had emotional trouble related to her marriage. “Heart trouble” traditionally symbolizes emotional trouble. This symbolism indicates readers feel the reason why Louise had emotional trouble was depend on her marriage. Therefore, readers may think Louise’s marriage had problems that made Louise wanted to get changes or get into a new life.
In conclusion, Chopin was a famous feminist writer. She uses irony to indicate readers that Louise eager to be free. Also, she utilizes imagery to show readers that Louise looked forward to be free and make readers feel the changes of Louise’s mood from sad to happy. Moreover, Chopin employs symbolism to emphasizes the marriage problems of Louise to readers and makes readers feel Louise wanted to get changes of her marriage. She was stressing to the readers that women have no rights in that period of time and lacked of freedom.