The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin

The Story of an Hour book cover
Start Your Free Trial

Why does Mrs. Mallard fight her feeling of freedom in "The Story an Hour"?

Expert Answers info

pmiranda2857 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2007

write1,721 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Business

I don't think that Mrs. Mallard fights her feeling of freedom, in fact, I think she has to contain her joy at the thought of this freedom.  It is the idea of freedom, the absolute exhilaration from it that she must keep in check, she is expected to be mourning the sudden death of her husband.  It would be inappropriate for her to appear happy at this sad time so she must conceal her joy at the thought of being free.

That is the struggle that Mrs. Mallard has emotionally, not the idea that she doesn't deserve to be free.  She has desired to be free for so long that when she gets what she wants most in life, she can't believe that she could be so fortunate. It is like getting the one thing that you want most in the whole world, when you get it you just can't believe it. 

It is so overwhelming that at first you feel giddy with a dreamlike feeling, that is the way the Louise Mallard feels when she gets the news of her husband's death.  Light-headed with utter relief at her good fortune to be given her heart's desire.

It is the thought of losing this wonder gift of freedom at the end of the story, when her husband walks into the door, fine and fit, that she dies, overcome from the pain of having to surrender her life to the control and domination of another.

Mrs. Mallard had the freedom for only a short period of time, and it was only in her mind that she was able to enjoy it, but for that little amount of time, she was happier than she had ever been in her life.   

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

charcunning eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2008

write224 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and Law and Politics

It is these very feelings of freedom that lead Mrs. Mallard to her overwhelming feelings of guilt.

Society says she is...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 598 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

ms-mcgregor eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2006

write1,918 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Science

check Approved by eNotes Editorial


alirsmith31 | Student

Mrs. Mallard has to deal with conflicting emotions upon receiving the news of her husband's death. The conflict comes from her longing to be free from the oppression she has been forced to live under during her marriage, and her constant longing to be free of its restrictions. she reminisces about the short period of time she was able to experience living for herself alone. At the same time, she knows she should feel devastated that she's lost her husband and partner for life. Society dictated that a wife live for her husband and think of his comfort and well-being before her own. Unmarried women didn't enjoy the same status as those who were more favorably situated in marriage, so her actual feelings of elation are at odds with the loss she's supposed to feel because she was supposed to have loved, honored, and respected her husband, and she should also have been terrified at what her unmarried status would mean in a world where women of a certain age should prefer the married state to spinsterhood. Showing her feelings of happiness at the turn of events challenges the societal norms for the time.

sjackson040605 | Student

because she did not want to become to excited because of her heart trouble and she did not know for sure wether her husband was actually dead

check Approved by eNotes Editorial