– An Essay Essay, Research Paper
Symbolism in The Story of an Hour
The Story of an Hour, by Kate Chopin is a very good story. The story has a very interesting character by the name of Mrs. Mallard. Mrs. Mallard, who is afflicted with heart trouble, is not the perfect wife. Her sister, Josephine, tells her of her husband s death. Mrs. Mallard s immediate response is grief: She wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment, in her sister s arms (Chopin 773). Mrs. Mallard removes herself to find a place to grieve alone.
Strangely, Mrs. Mallard s emotions change when she goes upstairs. She feels happy and free. She whispers, Free! Body and soul free! (Chopin 774). Location is very relevant to the differences in her emotions. When downstairs, among other people, Mrs. Mallard gives a normal and expected reaction to such a tragedy. Upstairs, she is able to reflect on her life, find comfort in her surroundings, and look upon her future with enthusiasm. Sometimes the end of one life is the beginning of another. Perhaps Mrs. Mallard feels that she has been in an unfulfilled marriage. If this is the case, her husband s death will allow her an opportunity to fulfill some of her dreams. Upstairs, she is able to look at the positive side of her husband s death. By locking the door, she is able to escape the typical reaction, as expected downstairs, and express her true emotions without anyone judging her.
Society expects for us to act a certain way depending on the situation. When humans are alone, we tend to say, do, and act as we please. We are able to feel freedom of expression without being judged. Removing ourselves from around others allows us to unmask any emotions and to dream the impossible.
Once the door is unlocked, reality sets in, and people tend to change their actions and act as expected. Mrs. Mallard unlocks the door, as requested by her sister, Louise, open the door! I beg; open the door you will make yourself ill (Chopin 775). Mrs. Mallard returns downstairs and tragedy strikes again. She sees her husband alive and well and she falls dead. Strangely the situation reverses and Mr. Mallard can now experience the freedom that Mrs. Mallard was only able to dream about.
Death affects everyone in a different way. Some label death as a tragedy, while others view death as the beginning of a new and perfect life. How people view death sometimes determines their reactions. One can only imagine what Mr. Mallard would feel if he went upstairs and locked the door. Perhaps both Mr. and Mrs. Mallard did in essence receive their freedom.