September 13, 2013
To be Happy or Sad: That is the Question
Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour" is the story of a woman by the name of Mrs. Mallard. She is a quiet, stoic woman who lives every day for her husband. Her face bore the signs of a woman who'd taken on the work of an entire household and put her own needs to the side. She receives shocking news that her husband has been involved in a horrific railroad accident that has taken his life. His death was confirmed by way of telegraph and had been double-checked (Chopin). "Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with heart trouble, great care was taken to break to her as gently as possible the news of her husband's death" (Chopin). After hearing of the tragedy from her sister, Josephine, Mrs.
Mallard retreats to her room to morn over her husbands death. Once Mrs. Mallard is alone, a different side of her starts to unfold, one that is unlike most in her situation. She is stricken with grief over the sudden death of her husband, however; she manages to reveal a bright side. Mrs. Mallard has realized the new freedom she has, one that prior to receiving the news would have never been possible. Emotionally she is torn between sorrow and pure relief. The significance of this inner conflict is shown throughout the entire story and in the end proves to be too much for Mrs. Mallard to handle.
Although at first glance this story appears to be a tragic love story, the real tragedy is the emotional battle faced by Mrs. Mallard. "The Story of an Hour" was written in 1894, a time in which women had very...