Kate Chopin’s short story titled “The Story of an Hour” shows us in a number ways that life without freedom is no life at all. In the story, a nineteenth century women named Mrs. Mallard finds out about her husband’s death. She has heart disease so Josephine, Mrs. Mallard’s sister, tries to break the bad news to her as calmly as possible. After hearing the news, Mrs. Mallard’s unpredictable reaction shocks us the readers as well as the characters in the story. Instead of feeling the sorrow of her husband’s death, she feels the joy of freedom from him as well. Freedom is something that we as humans take for granted, and this story shows the importance of it through Mrs. Mallard’s eyes.
What is freedom? Is it being able to say what you want when you want? Is it the ability to worship any god and bear arms? In today’s time, that may be how we define freedom. In the late 1800’s, however, things were different. During this time, a woman’s job was to obey her husband, cook for her family, clean the house, and take care of her children. Women did not know what freedom was or how it felt because they had never experienced it before. This is the reason why Mrs. Mallard does not know how to feel when she finds out about her husband’s death. This point is further proven when Chopin writes “She wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment, in her sister's arms. When the storm of grief had spent itself she went away to her room alone. She would have no one follow her” (Chopin 443). This quotation eloquently depicts Mrs. Mallard’s reaction to her husband’s death that most of us would expect. She cries holding nothing back, and can not fully grasp what she has just been told. However, she quickly composes herself and walks into the bedroom, which shows she is starting to cope with it.
We, as humans, are blinded by the luxury of freedom and take advantage of it, while Mrs. Mallard still has not even grasped the concept of it. Once Mrs. Mallard is inside the bedroom, she locks the door and sits down in a chair. Chopin then describes to us how little by little Mrs. Mallard comes to terms with her husband’s death. “There stood, facing the open window, a comfortable, roomy armchair. Into this she sank, pressed down by a physical exhaustion that haunted her body and seemed to reach into her soul” (Chopin 443). This quote, again, depicts how Mrs. Mallard had little to no freedom. The open window in this sentence represents the new life she has in front of her that is refreshed and cleaned. All she needs to do is get rid of the weight that is holding her back, which, in this case, is the sorrow and sadness she is feeling over her husbands death. Once she realizes this, she gets up and looks out at her new life with excitement that is uncontrolled.
We see in Mrs. Mallard’s eyes the true meaning of what it is to be free, and that it should not be disregarded. It takes Mrs. Mallard very little time to realize what it feels like to be finally free. She had...