“The Story of an Hour“
The story “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin, written in 1894, is about a woman gaining independence and experiencing a new freedom, due to the death of her husband. The topic of the story was rather scandalous at the end of the 19th century. Women had no control over their property and weren’t allowed to request a divorce.
Luise Mallard is a young wife (p.78, 3rd paragraph). She immediately feels grief and starts to cry when Richards gives her the news about the death of her husband. But directly after her outburst, the reader can already make out signs about how her feelings will change. In the story are several symbols, showing the approaching of a new life. Through the open window Mrs. Mallard can see trees, feel “the new spring life”, smell the “delicious breath of rain”, hear a song in the distance and see “patches of blue sky” (p 78, first paragraph). With almost all of her senses Mrs Mallard can feel the new life awaiting her, even before she herself realizes it.
The realization what her husband’s death means to her comes slowly. She first doesn’t know what it is she feels, and when she knows, she first can’t accept it. She tries to fight her feelings. But the unexpected happiness is stronger, she can’t hold it back. The moment of recognition is shown through her whispering “Free, free, free!”. She knows that she is free now, that she no longer has to obey a man, that she can live for herself and decide on her own. There is no longer a husband who forces his will unto her.
She doesn’t feel guilty about her feelings, her new freedom and independence are...