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Across the short time period of just an hour, a young unhappily married woman s life is drastically changed when she hears news of her husband s unfortunate death. The unhappy life she once led as a wife was quickly altered when hearing the joyous news of her becoming a widow. Just minutes there after she ironically falls to her own death when the small happiness she sought was disposed when she found out that she was not the fortunate widow she had so desired to become. In A Story of an Hour Kate Chopin tells this story of Mrs. Mallard reflecting upon her husband s unexpected death in which she unfolds the ironic meaning behind Mrs. Louise Mallard s reaction throughout the story.
Initially, Mrs. Mallard is denoted as a young woman who suffers from an unusual heart condition. Chopin begins this conventional love story by introducing her afflicted heart only to end this story ironically with Mrs. Mallard falling to her death due to her troubled heart. Although her heart is afflicted with this illness, Chopin may also be denoting the fact that Louise Mallard also suffered from a broken, troubled marriage which caused her heart to be ill .
After Chopin introduces Mrs. Mallard s heart trouble, Bentley Mallard s friend, Richards, tells Louise with all good intentions of her husband s fatal accident. With this, Mrs. Mallard goes upstairs and begins to reflect upon her new life as a widow.
Through Mrs. Mallard s reflection she describes her husband and their joint marriage as kind and tenderhearted, and never looking at her without love. Chopin states: She knew that she would weep again when she saw the kind, tender hands folded in death; the face that had never looked save with love upon her. However, Mrs. Mallard also is denoted as sometimes loving her husband but was quite unsatisfied because he often pushed his will upon her. As a result, this caused Louise to be unhappy and possibly ill-hearted. Where upon hearing of the death of her husband she cannot help but be overwhelmed with joy.
This reflection initially begins with the widow looking outside her window upon the new spring life. For a woman who just lost her lover, her actions are not of the norm. She grieves for a short period of time, admits she loved him but then she can t help but admire the new spring life that waits outside her window. Mrs. Mallard looks at her husband s death as an opportunity of freedom and independence, which are highly unlikely actions expected from a widow.
Chopin then speaks of something coming towards her as she sits in her room pondering upon her loss. This something is denoted as external but I feel it is a fight within her. The internal feeling that she only wishes to fight back could possibly be the happiness she feels for losing her lover. At this point, Mrs. Mallard feels guilty for the amount of overwhelming joy that has overcome her due to this horrifying, for most people, loss of a loved one. Chopin continues to express Mrs. Mallard s feelings of guilt only to eventually give into the happiness that temps her: She was striving to beat it back with her will. Finally, she allows this thing to possess her. Her happiness and joy overtakes her and she begins to ponder upon the new satisfying life that awaits her. Once she allows herself to realize that she is happy without him, she finds herself screaming: free, free, free implying that she is free from her unsatisfying married life and can now seek out her independence that she has longed. Chopin expresses her joy: Her fancy was running riot along those days ahead of her. Spring days and summer days, and all sorts of days that would be her own. Conclusively, she does not dismiss all negative effects of her husband s death but ironically she absolutely loves the opportunity of being a widow.
The author concludes the story as describing Louise, no longer addressed as Mrs. Mallard because she is free from her unsatisfying marriage, as a goddess of victory walking away from her triumph. The author implies that because the reason for her unhappiness is nonexistent she can now live her life freely like a goddess that has just sought victory. However ironically, Louise Mallard walks into her own death when her husband, whom she thought was dead, appears through the door.
Chopin denotes the reason of her death was to heart disease- of joy that kills. This last statement can be explained or depicted as her shock and disappointment overtaking her body and causing her to die. She falls to her death due to this shock and disappointment because the joyous future that she so dearly longed for was now undone because of her husband s presence.
Conclusively, Chopin describes, what may be considered as a conventional love story as a depiction of the ironic happiness a woman felt as a widow. Through the author s irony, it is clearly represented that most people would morn the death of a lover. However, Mrs. Mallard mourns upon the thought of not being able to live the feelings of independence and happiness that overtook her body within that short time span of an hour.
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