- To what extent is springtime an appropriate setting for The Story of an Hour?
Why do you think the narrator contrasts the vibrant description of “new spring life” outside Mrs. Mallard’s window with the lines of “repression” in her face?
Spring is a season generally known for its many re-births. Flowers bloom, birds come back from migration, we picture nests, nature at its most active, and the air is fresh as the cold of winter still leaves behind a hint of coolness while the sun warms us up. All these are emotions that entice belonging, comfort, happiness and, most of all, newness and freedom.
All these elements are taking place at the time that Mrs. Mallard receives the news of her husband's death. Just like a flower in the Spring, Mrs. Mallard finally opens up to the reality of her life: She has re-born into herself. She feels free from what seems to be a marriage that was less than satisfactory. She blooms out in joy, awaiting what will happen next now that she, for the first time, will be a free woman. Although she is shocked at her reaction, it seems like it was a long time coming. Hence, both the season and Mrs. Mallard have one very important characteristic in common: They are both starting over.
However, we know that the story ends when Mrs. Mallard dies in a shock when her husband arrives and we learn that he was not in the accident they all thought he was involved in. This is when her new world comes crashing down in less than one hour. Therefore, although the world outside continues to enjoy the season, Mrs. Mallard's re-birth came both too early, and too late in her life.