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Death is one of the things that we would prefer not to be a subject of our conversations. It is an event that remains sad for the rest of our lives. You will rarely find people smiling when they are informed about the demise of their loved ones. Kate Chopin’s work “The Story of an Hour” is one of the most interesting books which are marked with very contrasting ideas. Is it true that Mrs. Mallard received the message about her husband’s death with a lot of sadness? This is a question that whoever reads the book would like to know. The behavior of the bereaved, when the news was broken, signified that she was happy about the death of her husband. Josephine feared to inform her sister on what had happened, thinking that she might be negatively affected. However, when Richard told Louise about the death, she went to her room and felt a sense of freedom in her life. The intent of this essay is to explain the fact that
Mrs. Mallard became relieved when her husband was reported dead.
Mrs. Mallard had been suffering from heart problems for many years. As a matter of fact, any slight pain could cost her a great deal. At the beginning of the story, we all tend to sympathize with Louise Mallard when we are told she had a heart disease. However, the subsequent events leave us understanding that it must have been a psychological repression. Her reaction to the death of the husband was unexpected. She immediately believed the news and began to weep openly before going to her room. When alone, she felt totally depleted, but suddenly she stopped sobbing and reflected on her life with Mr. Mallard. She admired the beauty of the nature behind the window and eventually realized that she was now free. Mrs. Mallard consoled herself when she understood that, after mourning the death of her husband shortly, she would finally have years of freedom. It is true that she loved her husband, but she lacked personal freedom in her marriage. Now she could gain independence. She said to herself that she was free in her body and soul (Chopin 18).
Downstairs, Richard and Josephine remained calm. They actually believed that Mrs. Mallard required a moment to be alone and mourn the death of her husband. On the other hand, the widow was no longer in the state of sadness. Instead, she took time to plan how she would use the new opportunities of independence that were awaiting her in the future. She is described as a youthful person with a calm face. This illustrates the inner change Mr. Mallard’s death brought to her. The description helps us understand that Mrs. Mallard had endured total submission to her husband who controlled every aspect of her life. Thus, with the news about his death, she was now granted complete freedom. She was not worried at all but felt she had conquered. Mrs. Mallard visualized how her husband would look like in his coffin (Chopin 17). She said that she would shed tears when she saw the tender hands of her husband folded in death and his face. In fact, she was optimistic of leading a good life without her husband.
Mrs. Mallard spent some time in the room thinking about how she was going to enjoy the freedom presented before her by the death of her husband. According to the widow, she had been repressed by her husband and had become an alien (Willhite 20). Therefore, this death was like a turning point in her life which granted her independence. In fact, it was the joy of becoming free that consumed her heart. Josephine was worried about her condition and opted to stop her from mourning. She went to her room and took her downstairs. Mrs. Mallard was so glad. She was looking forwards to her long awaited freedom. Finally, Mr. Mallard entered the room, to the surprise of everyone. He was not dead and did not even think that he had been mistaken as dead. Richard and Josephine tried to protect Mrs. Mallard from being shocked, but, unfortunately, she collapsed when she saw the husband. Later, Louise was pronounced dead from a heart disease. The truth remains that joy and happiness led to her death.
“The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin explores a very contradicting scenario. Mrs. Mallard had a heart failure, and nobody wanted to give her saddening information. People were afraid that the news might cause developing of complications or even death of the heroine. However, when she was told that her husband was dead, she did not hesitate to begin weeping in disguise. When the woman remained alone in her room, she immediately started to celebrate such a precious opportunity for freedom. She was neither grieved nor depressed about the death of her husband. Although she loved her husband, she was not free with his presence. Therefore, Mrs. Mallard believed that her life would actually be nice, because she got freedom, of which her husband had deprived her. As a result, the news of her husband’s death granted her a chance to be happy. The story shows the vital importance of independence for every person. When the opportunity to gain freedom eventually disappeared from Louise, this had even more harmful effect than the reported death of her husband. The heart of the woman could not stand the fact of leading further life without the right to be herself. The perspective of living in a cage was too fearsome for her heart to accept.
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