The Story of an Hour

Remember that feeling of pure happiness and relief you get when something happens and for a moment you're not even sure that it's real? Kate Chopin's The Story of an Hour puts its character, Louise Mallard, through that feeling.

Tragedy strikes Mrs. Mallard, or so we are lead to believe while reading this, when she receives word that her husband was killed in a train accident. Josephine, Mrs. Mallard's sister, and Richard, Mrs. Mallard's husband's friend, are both present in the Mallard household when Josephine tells Louise about her husband’s unfortunate death.

It all seems like a dream to Mrs. Mallard as she cries in her sister's arms. How could her husband be dead? She leaves her sister to venture up to her bedroom where she locks the door for privacy. While sitting in her armchair, reality begins to settle. The grief she felt turned into relief as she repeatedly whispered, "Free, free, free!"

Mrs. Mallard, young, ill, and sounding a bit crazy, is relieved that she will no longer be at her husband's mercy. She literally sees the freedom of years to come where she will have no one to bow down to. Her sister, worried, goes up to fetch Mrs. Mallard, not wanting her to make herself ill. Coaxing her now widowed sister from the room, the two make it down the stairs just as the front door is opened.

Richard, Mrs. Mallard's husband's friend, moved to block Mrs. Mallard from the veiw of her very much alive husband, Brently Mallard. Who turned out to be oblivious of the accident as he was nowhere near when it had happened. Mrs. Mallard died and the doctors said it was the cause of heart disease-- of joy that kills.

For me, personally, there was a sense of happiness in the air coming from the widow at the thought of her husband being dead. Then it all came crashing down when her supposed dead husband, Brently Mallard, walked through the front door oblivious to what happened. Finishing the story, I would say that Mrs. Mallard fell down dead just at the sight of her very much alive husband. That must be some disappointment she felt in order for it to kill her.

That in itself is what hooked me to the story to begin with. It sent all sorts of questions through my head like; Why was Mrs. Mallard glad to hear of her husband's death? Did he abuse her? Did she not like him at all?

The one thing that I did understand without a shadow of a doubt was that Louise Mallard hated her husband so much, that when she saw that he was indeed alive and not dead, it killed her.

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