“The Story of an Hour,” "A Respectable Woman" and "The Storm" all written by Kate Chopin, tell powerful stories of the hidden impulses women discover within themselves. These stories illustrate three women in very different situations and how they deal with their urges and desires. We learn who these women are, what they do and why they choose the decisions they ultimately come to make.
In "The Story of an Hour" Louise Mallard, a young woman who has a heart problem, has news delivered gently by her sister Josephine that her husband, Brently Mallard, has been killed in a railroad accident. This news is first discovered by her husband's friend Richards, who is also there with them. Distraught by her husband’s unexpected death, she cries in her sister's arms and then quickly rushes to her bedroom where we discover a different side to her. At first, Mrs. Mallard sits unmoving in her armchair in front of the window and looks at the beauty outside, occasionally sobbing. She has a strong and calm face, but she stares lifelessly into the sky as if to wait for a revelation. At last, she realizes that she is now free despite her initial inner conflict. Mrs. Mallard knows that she will grieve for her loving husband, but she also envisions many years of freedom, which she begins to embrace.
The question that arises to the reader is: Is Mrs. Mallard happy because of her independence or is she sad because she has lost her husband? It may seem that she is happy about the death of her husband, but she also thinks of Brently's "kind, tender hands" and "the face that had never looked save with love upon her." In other words, she knows that her husband always looked at her with nothing but love. However, because he died she now can see something she has never felt before and might likely never have felt if he had not died: her impulse for freedom. After she takes in the fact that her freedom is coming, she takes pleasure in repeating the word "free." Instead of being afraid and staring blankly, she now accepts her new life and is excited. When Brently Mallard enters the house alive and well in the final part of the story, we find Mrs. Mallard dead. It is clear that she was not shocked that her husband is alive, but rather over losing her prized, newfound freedom. She briefly felt the happiness of being free and when that happiness gets taken away, she dies "of joy that kills," the reader can sense the irony.
In "A Respectable Woman" Mrs. Baroda is a well-off woman who lives on a plantation with her loving husband Gaston. She is a bit frustrated because Gaston is having his friend, Gouvernail, over to spend a week or two. She is upset because she and Gaston have been busy during winter entertaining guests and going to New Orleans for parties, and she was hoping to rest and converse with him. Although she has never met Gouvernail, she knows that he and Gaston had been college mates and that he is now a journalist. She has formed an image of him as a tall, slim,...