In “the Story Of An Hour” By Kate Chopin, How Does Mrs. Mallard Feel About Life Without Her Husband?

1 Answer | Add Yours

carol-davis's profile pic

carol-davis | College Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour" portrays an unusual set of circumstances.  The main character Louise Mallard has a heart problem.  She has to be careful in whatever that she does.

On this day, Louise has been told by an acquaintance that her husband Brantley has been killed in an accident.  Of course, she is distraught about the news of his death.  After being consoled by her sister, Louise goes to her room to compose herself. 

As she sits in her chair, Louise feels something coming up inside of her. Until now, Louise has been repressed, watched, and kept in control for her health's sake.  Slowly, she began to realize what the feeling was.  Louise began to whisper the words, "free, free, free..." Now she would be free not only physically but emotionally as well.

What could love, the unsolved mystery, count for in face of this possession of self-assertion which she suddenly recognized as the strongest impulse of her being!

"Free! Body and soul free!" she kept whispering.

There would be no one to tell her what to do.  She could go and do as she pleased.  Realizing that she would still grieve for her dead husband, she also knew that within her being she felt happiness for the years of freedom that she could foresee. 

Louise had loved her husband sometimes.  He had always been nice to her, and she thought that he loved her.  Yet, he had made her do things that she did not want to do.  She resented him for imposing his will on her. 

After all, a person does not stop  loving her husband  for little reasons. Either Mr. Mallard was doing something really bad occasionally to Louise, or she was not fair in her judgment of him. This feeling of who she is and who she can be is by far the "strongest" she has  ever felt.

Just the day before, she felt that her life would always be the way he wanted it to be. But now, her days would be her own.

Her sister waited for her outside her door. Arm in arm, they go down the stairs together. The door opens and in walks Louise's husband alive and well.

Louise fell to the floor and instantly was dead.  The doctors said that she died from the "joy that kills." However, the reader knows the truth. 

It was not only the shock of her seeing her husband alive, her heart problem, and probably...the loss of the freedom that she so desired from her married life.

 

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,930 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question