The Story of an Hour
“The Story of an Hour” is one of the best fictional short stories to be written by Kate Chopin. It is however important to note that the story was originally published as “The Dream of an Hour” on 6th December 1894 but other versions of short story have been published since then. The short story focuses on a young woman’s immediate reaction to her husband death and the events that follow after wards when she discovers that her husband is alive and not dead as earlier thought.
The short story “The Story of an Hour” has four main characters and each of them plays and conveys a specific message to the reader. One of the main characters is Louise Mallard who has been portrayed as a protagonist and her husband, Brently Mallard. Others are Richards who is Mr. Mallards best friends and Josephine his sister in law (Sister to Louise Mallard)
This will seek to answer the following questions in relation to events that happen in the short story: How does Kate Chopin define freedom? What does she think generally about freedom, and what about it specifically? (In relation to marriage) How does Chopin view men, according to the evidence in the story? How does this relate to freedom? How does the last line relate to the whole? Does Mrs. Mallard die from a weak heart and being overjoyed? How does Chopin’s definition of freedom compare to your own? Did her story change the way you think about freedom? About marriage? The paper will thereafter give a brief summary on the main points that would have been discussed in the course of study. My personal opinion on the use of the word freedom in marriage as used in the short story will also be given.
The set up of “The Story of an Hour” is in the nineteenth century where women were required to do most things against their wish, for example getting married. This was the scenario that the author of the short story, Kate Chopin’s bringing forward to the reader. In the short story the death of Mr. Mallard was a “blessing” to Mrs. Mallard, this is because it freed her from the bondage of marriage she was forced into (Willhite).
She mourns her husband but at the same time she was willing and ready to leave behind anything that her husband owed and move on with life – She declares the matrimonial room a “sanctuary”. The short story shows the real events that happen in marriages where many couples are in unsatisfactory marriages but due to various reasons they cannot walk away. The dominant nature of men in marriages has been also been brought out in and it is for this reason that Mrs. Mallard rejoices when she hears that her husband has passed on.
It is however the news that her husband (Mr. Mallard) had not died in a railroad disaster that made her develop heart complications that led to her death. The heart disease can attributed to the initial joy she heard when she thought her husband had died and therefore the news that her husband was alive came as a bombshell (Seyersted, 189).
In my opinion, I don’t agree with the author definition of freedom in relation to marriage. Freedom can be interpreted in different ways depending on the situation, in the cause of the death of a spouse or a partner; this cannot be referred to as a gaining freedom but rather a loss. In conclusion, marriage is a sacred and holy institution and any person who walks into it should do it wholeheartedly and they should be ready and willing to sacrifice all they can to ensure that there is happiness in the institution.