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Dead End Marriage Essay, Research Paper

Dead End Marriage

In Kate Chopin?s ?The Story of an Hour,? a wife takes the news of her husband?s death quite differently than most wives. Some might find Mrs. Mallard?s rather joyous response to her husband?s death confusing or shocking. But, having lived without love for her husband, Mrs. Mallard takes death as a window of opportunity for life.

Mrs. Mallard knows that she will grieve at the funeral and will be capable of seeing ?beyond the bitter moment.? Unlike those who ?have heard the same with the paralyzed inability to accept its significance,? Mrs. Mallard hears the death of her husband knowing that the event brings something special?freedom from the restraints of marriage. She will have years of life to herself without anyone to live for her. Mrs. Mallard would no longer be compelled to the ?powerful will? of a wife. She sees ?years to come that would belong to her absolutely? where she can dwell in ?self-assertion??which she believes possession of counts more than love. She can have her ?body and soul free? from the shackles that cause her heart trouble.

Perhaps the reader should perceive her ?heart trouble? as an emotional handicap rather than a physical handicap. It is revealed that she only loved him sometimes, often not at all. After hearing the news of the death, she passes through a ?storm of grief?

Namoc 2 without any response from her troubled heart before retiring to her room. Even physically, her heart lacks passionate feelings for her husband. Her heart beats fast, ?coursing blood? warming and relaxing her body, only after permitting the ?subtle and elusive? thoughts of joy entrance to her mind.

Joy finds Mrs. Mallard in the most obscure fashion. She wants a life she can live for herself with her ?body and soul free.? Mrs. Mallard has years of happiness ahead of her?years she once dreaded. That life would only last several steps before she perishes. Perchance it was not her heart that killed her, but the intoxicating dosage of the ?elixir of life??the joy of liberation?that set her free.

Namoc 3

Chopin, Kate. ?The Story of an Hour.? Literature and the Writing Process. Elizabeth

McMahan, Susan X Day, and Robert Funk. 5th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ:

Prentice, 1999. 242-243.


McMahan, Susan X Day, and Robert Funk. 5th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ:

Prentice, 1999. 242-243.

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