TheStory of an Hour
Thestory of an hour is a story of a sick and dying woman who imaginesthat her husband is dead and she has all freedom of life. LouiseMallard has a serious heart condition and therefore she must becarefully informed about the tragic death of her husband (Brently) ina rail accident. She was informed by her sister Josephine. Richards,Brently friend had seen the name of Louise husband in the list ofpeople who had died in the accident in a newspaper. After receivingthe bad news from her sister, she moves to her room to mourn herhusband. While crying, she admires the environment through her roomdoor. Suddenly, starts repeating the word ‘free’. Although shefeels sad that her husband is dead, she imagines her life ahead, inthe absence of her husband. She therefore spreads her arms wide withjoy and anticipation of a future with freedom and no oppression. Inher mind, even the most kind and loving husband or wife oppresses thespouse. She refuses to come out of her room and continues tofantasize about the future without her husband. After some time, sheopens the door and walks down the stairs with to meet Richard. Theunexpected happens when Brently comes in from the front door. He hadnot died in the accident and was unaware of the accident. Richardstries to block Louise so that she does not see her husband, whileJosephine screams uncontrollably. Louise has a heart attacked anddied as a result of shock (Chopin, 1894).
LouiseMallard is the main character in the short story. She cherish her newfreedom after she learns about her husband death in an accident, butdies when her husband who was not dead alive home unexpectedly. Sheis an intelligent and independent woman he knows how to deal with herinternal thoughts and emotions. Brently Mallard is her husband, whois believed to have died in a railroad accident. Although he is aloving and kind husband, his wife considers their marriage to beoppressive. Josephine is Louise sister who tries to comfort her wholeRichards is a family friend who learned about the train accident fromthe newspaper and informs the family (Chopin, 1894).
Themain theme in the short story is joy of independence. However, thisjoy is forbidden and can only be imagined. When Louise learns aboutthe death of her husband, her first reaction is a obvious grief.However, her reaction is relatively more violent, although Josephineis very careful as she informs her due to her heart condition. Whilealone in her room, Louise quickly realizes that by losing herhusband, she has earned independence. She is very excited andoverjoyed by these thoughts. Although she tries to keep her joy andexcitement as a private thought, she is overwhelmed and the word freeescapes (Chopin, 1894). However, the forbidden joy disappears whenher husband appears unexpectedly appears. Another important theme inthe short story is the inherent oppressive nature of marriage. Theplot of the story suggests that all marriages are oppressive bynature. Even in cases where the parties are kind and loving, there isan element of oppression in the marriage. In the story, Louisementions that her husband was a good man, but believes she will enjoyfreedom after his death. She views her husband death as liberationfrom the oppressive marriage (Chopin, 1894).
Thereare specific and distinct motifs and dominant ideas that have beenused by the authors in the story. The most dominant features in theshort story are weeping. Louise’s weeping signifies both happinessand sorrow. Throughout the story, Louise is crying, either becauseher husband is dead on she has new freedom. It can be assumed thatweeping was part of her marriage life, but will disappear aftergaining the new freedom. However, she cries after learning about herhusband death and also envisages herself crying after over herhusband dead body (Chopin, 1894).
Animportant symbol in the short story is an open window. After learningabout the death of her husband, Louise goes to her room and gazesoutside through an open window. The open window symbolizes newopportunities and freedom that awaits her. Through the open door,Louise sees the sky and trees, hears the sounds of singing birds andsmells a rainstorm. This suggests a new life symbolized by an openwindow (Chopin, 1894). Through the open window, she is able to see abright future, full of new freedom and opportunities. However, whenshe moves out of the room, and away from the window, the freedom andopportunities disappears. The heart problem Louise is suffering fromis also a symbol. It symbolizes her lack of freedom and happiness inmarriage (Chopin, 1894). The heart problem is the first thing theaudience learns about Louise. Due to her weak heart, it is difficultfor her to deal with the bad news such as tragic death of herhusband.
Chopin,Kate. TheStory of an Hour.Holt, Rinehart and Winston, (1894).