The Story of an Hour Theme Essay
The Story of an Hour is a short story with vivid and very descriptive dialog detailing the feelings of a perhaps abused, neglected, or heartless wife. Mrs. Mallard was a woman who felt trapped and was conflicted as to how her life would end up being. She has an epiphany when she suddenly finds out that her husband was killed in a horrible accident that she was not actually in love with her husband; at least not most of the time. While most would feel extreme sorrow, and a feeling of loss, she felt as if she was gaining something, her freedom.
She felt as if something was coming to possess her and she did not know what it was. It was the happiness and freedom that she so longed for and had missed for several years while with her husband. Mrs. Mallard was conflicted since she had this epiphany that she would now be free, and all of the thoughts of what were ahead of her in life were filling her with joy. How can a woman feel this way after being married to a man for so many years even if he was overbearing?
We can only speculate as to the problems that were within this marriage, but it is obvious that it was far from a healthy relationship. There is an in depth description of the way Mrs. Mallard comes about her epiphany as she sits by her window in her room as her sister waits for outside the room. She hears, smells and sees all that is going on outside that window from the tweeting birds, the smell of rain, and the view of the tops of the trees. All of this calming her from her immediate uproar to her now calm state and allowing herself to be free.
As she stated to herself over and over that she was free, she came out of her bedroom a new woman. “Free! Body and soul free! ” she kept whispering (Chopin, 1894). Unfortunately, once she discovered that her husband was actually not part of the accident and very much alive, it killed her. Having all of her newfound happiness wisped away from her suddenly by a door being flung open by her presumed to be dead husband was too much for her to handle.
Her heart condition that she had lived with for year had finally got the better of her. The theme of this story is a woman finding herself and her freedom that she had longed for. She may have been physically or verbally abused, or just fell out of love with her husband and wanted something new for her. Conflict and epiphany were two literary words that were used within this short story as Mrs. Mallard came to grips with her feelings, not knowing whether to be sad or to be happy.
She settled with the latter and was essentially glad that she was free from a husband that she had fallen out of love with. Described throughout were the feelings that were overcoming her and in what stages they came. The author gave a clear understanding of how Mrs. Mallard felt, and that it was not easy for her to come to the conclusion in which she came. Eventually embracing the feeling that had overcome her she felt empowered and hopeful for the upcoming life ahead of her. She was free.