The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin

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In "The Story of an Hour," does Mrs. Mallard die in the eleventh paragraph where it says "When she abandoned herself"?

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dbevier eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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When the author says that Mrs. Mallard "abandoned herself," she means that Mrs. Mallard has finally given herself permission to think with pleasure at the new life of freedom she thinks she will now have without her husband. Notice it says after this moment that "her pulses beat fast" and "coursing blood warmed and relaxed every inch of her body." As a matter of fact, at this moment of realization she is more fully alive than she has ever been. With the beautiful spring weather outside her open window symbolizing her hope for a new beginning as a free woman, the author says that she is "drinking in the elixir of life" as she stands there. An "elixir" is defined as a liquid used as a medicine and taken to cure sickness. Mrs. Mallard's sickness was her oppression as a married women who had to submit her own desires to the will of her husband. Though Mrs. Mallard does "clasp her sister's waist" as she walks down the stairs, she is not weak. As a matter of fact, the text says that she carried herself "like a goddess of Victory." Josephine's cry is one of shock at seeing Brently Mallard alive, and Richards tries to keep Brently from Mrs. Mallard's vision because of her already existing heart condition. He is afraid even a "good surprise" at this point would threaten her health. Ironically, her death is the result of knowing that her dreams of freedom are now dead, simply because her husband is alive after all.

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gbeatty eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Good question. Literally, I would say no. After she abandons herself, her blood is still pounding (and she speaks). On the literal level, she doesn't die until her husband returns a few paragraphs later. However, at that point she dies to her old life, or it to her, on the symbolic level. That's why she dies literally later.

Greg

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renelane eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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No-not literally at this point. She dies from the shock-and possibly the heartbreak -of her husbands return.

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revolution | Student

No, she actually died later on at the end of the book, not at this that point. When she saw her husband safe and whole and not dead, Mrs Mallard was so shocked that she died. Physicians also later confirmed that Mrs Mallard's death was resulted from "joy that kills". Her weak and failing heart could not stand the happy shock on seeing her husband safe and sound.

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