Challenging The Social Norm Essay

930 words - 4 pages

"Story Of An Hour" by Kate Chopin is a telling story about a woman, Mrs. Mallard, who's
given the horrible news that her husband has passed away in a train wreck. Devastated by her
husband's sudden death, she excuses herself and immediately rushes to her bedroom; this is where
readers see a different side of Mrs. Mallard. In time she has taken on a different angle of life. Although
obviously upset about her husband's sudden death, Mrs.Mallard has something to be happy about. In
1894 when the "Story Of An Hour" was written, women didn't have a say over anything and because
of her husband's death; Mrs.Mallard learns the cost of both freedom gained, and freedom lost.
Kate Chopin lived in a time period when women really did not have any rights. Therefore her
stories typically focused entirely around the theme of female characters who dealt with these problems;
Chopin was well known for writing about these society blocks. However in her stories the women
usually take on a more conventional side than what would be expected. Normally they chose their own
path rather than what society would want.
One theme in Chopin's story is freedom (Mayer, 95). In the beginning of "The Story of an
Hour" the scene opens up and readers are introduced to Mrs. Mallard, who has been told that her
husband has died in a horrible train wreck.She reacts to this news like any other wife would ­­ yes, she
is clearly upset so she excuses herself and rushes off to her bedroom to be away from everyone who
has come to see her.In her room the reader see a completely different side of Mrs. Mallard.
When she abandoned herself a little whispered word escaped her slightly parted lips. She said it
over and over under the breath: free, free, free! The vacant stare and the look of terror that had

followed it went from her eyes. They stayed keen and bright. Her pulses beat fast, and the
coursing blood warmed and relaxed every inch of her body. (Chopin 77)
This is the first time Mrs. Mallard really breaks out. She can truly express what she is feeling without
concern, although, in some senses she still knows her place; knowing full well that she dare not express
these types of feelings in front of her family and friends. Even though her husband has died she is still
supposed to keep the stature of a good women during this time period. Mrs. Mallard is now been
reborn, "She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with
the new spring life." (Chopin, 77) she is now free from the shadow of her husband. Mrs. Mallard is in
her room, standing in front of her window, and everything around her is in full bloom; spring has arrived.
Winter has died and spring has been born. In some sense...

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