The husband's side of the storyI remember doing this story in middle school. However, there were two versions of the story. The first version was actually "the story of an hour". The...
I remember doing this story in middle school. However, there were two versions of the story. The first version was actually "the story of an hour". The second version was all from the husband's point of view as he walks home from work,worrying about how Mrs. Mallard is doing alone. He then comes home to watch his wife die in front of him. Any of this sound familiar?
When I teach this story, some men in the class, and even some women, react by finding Louise a somewhat callous, somewhat unsympathetic character who seems to take her husband and her privileged position in society for granted. They argue that she does not have to work for a living (as Brently does) and that her own sense of being oppressed is naive when her situation is compared to the situations of working-class women or people of color in the U. S. in the late 1800s. Invariably this story provokes a good deal of discussion and argument, and the debate is always lively.
In my book Kate Chopin's Short Fiction: A Critical Companion, you can get a quick overview of various ways in which this story has been interpreted. One critic seems to provide some support for the views expressed above:
Tuttleton 1996: Although the sudden reversal at the end had become a formula of fiction, the ending here is effective because it is mysterious. Feminist readings of the tale simplify the ending. Louise is not oppressed in any blatant sense. Perhaps she dies because she is robbed by circumstances of the possibility of willful self-assertion. The story reveals Chopin’s insights into the depths of the human soul (183-85).
Here is the bibliographical information for Tuttleton:
Tuttleton 1996. Tuttleton, James W. Vital Signs: Essays on American Literature and Criticism. Chicago: Ivan R. Dee, 1996.
Another critic who has taken a highly skeptical view of Louise Mallard is Lawrence Berkove. Here is bibliographical information about his article:
Berkove, Lawrence L. "Fatal Self-Assertion in Kate Chopin's 'The Story of an Hour.'." American Literary Realism 32.2 (Winter 2000): 152-158. Rpt. in Twentieth-Century Literary Criticism. Ed. Janet Witalec. Vol. 127. Detroit: Gale, 2002.
Are you thinking about the story about the man who plans his wife's murder on his 40th birthday--only to find out that she has arranged a surprise party for him? I can't remember the title but will look it up for you.
I think in this story, Mr. Mallard is oblivious to his wife's feelings; otherwise, she might not be so happy to be free of him.
It seems to me that I encountered something along that line a million years ago when I was in school, but it would have been written by some contemporary author trying to round out the picture presented in "The Story of an Hour." But of course, a title and an author escape me.
This would be an interesting pairing, but I have never heard of that story. If you find it, do let us know! I would love a copy to use in conjunction with this story. It's fascinating to have different perspectives on a topic.