The Story of an hour

Essay by trinhphanthuytrinh June 2004

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Chopin's "The Story of an Hour" illuminates how one person can see beyond the lairs of repression that build up during their life. The protagonist of Kate's "The Story of an Hour", Mrs. Mallard, represses the essence of her being until she thinks that her husband is dead. Thinking him gone they, the feelings inside of her, are finally able to come out. Yet, just as in all situations there is a cost that must be paid for this freedom.

Like many people, Mrs. Mallard was always without the feeling of freedom. Marring young, she had gone from under the wing of her father into the "tender hands" of her husband (p.2 line 1). Even though she thought that being subjugated was wrong no mater the reason "a kind intention or a cruel intention made the act seems no less a crime," she being Mrs. Mallard can no more express these thoughts than a pig could express quantum physics (p.2

line 9). By giving us a character that knows and understands its own plight Kate Chopin establishes plausibility. The fact that Mrs. Mallard has no way of dealing with the situation that she is in, causes us to empathize with her, for we all have been unable to express our selves at times.

Only as she becomes Mrs. Louise Mallard can she see what had always been inside of her from the beginning. Kate shows us that it is not with effort but abandonment that we will truly become what we always where, for as a new entity Louise gains new insight into who she really is. It is with tears, not brute force that her chrysalis, that she was trapped in during the beginning of the story, is washed away. In Kate Chopin's words, "There was something coming.