The Story of an Hour
"The Story of an Hour", by Kate Chopin, is a story of a woman who, through the mistakenly reported death of her husband, experiences true freedom. The story deals with the restrictions forced on women in the nineteenth century.
A woman in that era is duty-bound to remain married, despite being unhappy in that union. Accommodating attentiveness are qualities expected of her. Louise feels true joy once she comes to the realization that she can finally live for herself, but the heartbreak of finding out that her newfound freedom is only an illusion is more than her fragile constitution can handle. After the tragic news, she envisions her life as being fuller, but instantaneously begins weeping, thinking that is the reaction she thinks she should give.
When first reading "The Story of An Hour", one's instinctual response is to sympathize with the character of Mrs.
Mallard, which seemed to have been the intended response by the author. The story follows Mrs. Mallard's emotional path from the original shock upon hearing of her husband's supposed death, to her gradual acceptance of her unasked for freedom. Finally, the irony of her sudden death concludes the story.
One is overwhelmed with the feeling of injustice when reading the ending of this story. At the point when Louise begins to envision the improvement of her life, her unharmed husband walks through the door. Even if she had lived through the shock, her entrapment in an unfulfilling marriage would have been a forgone conclusion. Mrs. Mallard knew that all her dreams, visions, and plans were ruined. Faced with the reality that nothing would go the way she planned, she collapses with a heart attack.