In "The Story of an Hour," comment upon the following statement: "Brently's death allows his wife to become alive."

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The story clearly presents the truth of this statement. Key to focus on in this short tale is the reaction of Mrs. Mallard to the news of her husband's death. Although she is at first overwhelmed by grief, it is obvious that soon her grief is replaced by something that her life prior to that moment had not been subject to: hope. The tantalising prospect and freedom to live her life as she would like by herself is what moves Mrs. Mallard from grief into a state of almost ecstatic joy. Note the following quote as she beings to contemplate what her life might look like now that her husband has died:

There would be no one to live for during those coming years; she would live for herself. There would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature. A kind intention or a cruel intention made the act seem no less a crime as she looked upon it in that brief moment of illumination.

It is the death of her husband that has metaphorically "freed" Mrs. Mallard from the yoke of his power and will. Now, she is able to look upon the future and see it as an opportunity to live her life free from his will, and thus we can argue that, ironically, through her husband's death, Mrs. Mallard has actually come to life.

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