Free «Story of an Hour» Essay

Story of an Hour

“The Story of an Hour” was written by Kate Chopin in 1894, at the time when women began to struggle for their rights in the male-dominated society. Therefore, the writer is known as one of the first feminist-writers. The main character of the story is Louise Mallard who subconsciously searches for deliverance from complete men’s power. One can see the problem of love there, which cannot exist without freedom, namely without freedom of choice in the marriage.

Mrs. Mallard seems to be in cage, she cannot live for herself. Kate Chopin draws an analogy with nature and the character’s emotions: nature wakes up in spring and Louise’s soul awakes in an hour. This hour illustrates how fast everything can change in person’s life, how long one can love and understand that he or she has never loved in a moment. “The open window” and “comfortable, roomy armchair” in the character’s room embody the new period of her life, which will be free and independent (Chopin). These moments exactly illustrate her understanding of the situation, which even fill the air outdoors. Maybe she will never have an opportunity to find her beloved man, and it will not be prison, but happy life. The author shows how her state changes from a feeling of regret to the awareness of freedom, which she unconsciously wishes.

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Louise is unhappy under the control of Mr. Mallard; it is precisely this fact that explains why “a monstrous joy that held her,” when she comes to grips with the death of her husband (Chopin). She was afraid of such a long life with unloved person, who had a great power over her, but after she learns the piece of news, she looks forward to future spring, summer and all the days which she will devote to herself. She understands that it would be difficult to see her husband’s body and she will not be able to hold back tears, but the feeling of freedom is much stronger than regret for his death.

Mrs. Mallard’s face “had never looked save with love upon her” but it does not matter because “she had loved him - sometimes, often she had not” (Chopin). The character understands that spouses should have no “right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature” and the real love relationship should be based on aspiration to make each other happy (Chopin).

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The end of the story shows how important is freedom in relationships for Louise. Moreover, it is a deathblow when her husband returns alive. She “was afflicted with a heart trouble” and the doctors come to the conclusion that “she had died of heart disease - of the joy that kills” (Chopin). However, it is a great delusion. Louise Mallard cannot accept the return to her cage and her death becomes a deliverance from incomprehension with her husband. The hour changes her soul completely; she will never been the same wife in the enforced marriage. She cannot divorce her husband, therefore, it is the only way out.

In conclusion, taking everything into consideration, Mrs. Mallard defines love relationships as a purpose of life and love’s existence is possible only when body and soul are free. In her opinion, the marriage is not a captivity, but union of the two beloved hearts on the basis of independence. Despite her husband’s love, Louise has a dramatic destiny. The story does not lose its relevance; it shows women who feel to be prisoners in their relationships. Unfortunately, not many of them try to achieve freedom they deserve. Death is not the way to obtain liberty; it is a symbol of desire to avoid restrictions in relationships.

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