An Hour Of Freedom Essay

1292 words - 5 pages

"An Hour of Freedom" In Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour," Louise Mallard indulges in a liberating, mental journey of freedom after she receives news of her husband's accidental death. Ultimately, her hour of unhindered exhilaration precipitates her own sudden death when her husband, Bentley, returns home alive and well. Throughout the story, Chopin uses symbolism as her basis as well as irony and foreshadowing to further emphasize her message. "The Story of an Hour" raises the question, "In this story, can love and freedom exist simultaneously, and more importantly why does Louise have these contradicting feelings?" Through detailed imagery Chopin expresses the emotions of Mrs. Mallard. The welling of these emotions starts with "the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life" (Chopin 5). She is leaving the readers with this indication of freedom and Chopin states, "the delicious breath of rain was in the air," which offers the readers another suggestion of hope (5). Further description states that there are "patches of blue sky" which symbolizes the hope of freedom surfacing throughout the sadness and sorrow of her husband's death (9). Chopin suggests that Mrs. Mallard is looking forward to the future and glad of the passing of her oppression by stating "She felt it, creeping out of the sky, reaching toward her through the sounds, the scents, the color that filled the air" (8). This is the first hint that gives the reader's a sense of Mrs. Mallard's contradicting feelings. While she has this sense of freedom at first, she now has this force come over her and it terrifies her. When told of the news that her husband has died in an accident, Mrs. Mallard immediately starts to cry, goes into a state of shock, and proceeds up to her room to have time for herself. As she begins to realize what the death of her husband means, she becomes joyful and almost relieved with the thought of being an independent woman. "Free, free, free" are the words that first come from her lips (10). She is filled with joy upon realizing that her husband's death means her freedom. Louise also realizes that "she would have no one to follow her," (3) which could symbolize the beginning of her acceptance and understanding that "she would live for herself" (13). She truly wants to be alone and rejoice in the idea that "there would be no one to live for her during those coming years" (13). However, the irony used by Chopin, illustrated in this passage, plays a very important part in the thematic development of the story. Because of her desire and need to be released from her husband's bondage, she will actually lose her life upon the realization that he is not dead. There is no doubt that Louise has some love for Bentley, but overtime, she has come to long for a sense of independence and individualism. Without this sense of independence, her freedom is entirely...

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