Summary of c's Reflection of "The Story of an Hour"

Essay by kasioras8817University, Bachelor'sA, September 2006

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"The Story of an Hour" analyses a 19th century wife's attempt to gain an identity. When the main character, Louise Mallard, hears the tragic news of her husband's death, she consciously chooses to be embraced by another woman, her sister Josephine. By this gesture, Louise shows that she prefers the company of a woman rather than that of a man. After grieving for a short while, Louise shuts herself in the bedroom. Once she has some time to gather her thoughts, the newly pronounced widow develops a new personality; Mrs. Millard becomes Louise, as her sister Josephine refers to her for the fist time in the story. While Louise is taking notice of the changes in nature outside her window, she is still Mrs. Mallard-a woman with a secret yearning for freedom. As first, Louise is frightened by the unfamiliar experience since it does not resemble anything that would fit in the social frame of "true womanhood." Nonetheless, after a while, Louise recognizes the sensation as liberation of her body and mind. Eventually, she gives in to the new self and to "the monstrous joy" that comes with self- assertation. However, Josephine's intrusion into her sister's bedroom signals that there is more to the story than the Louise's self-fulfillment. Naturally, when Louise descends downstairs, she is once again exposed to the past world. There, the same old attitudes of people who surround her can crush Louise's sense of independence instantly. Unfortunately, that is precisely what happens. The moment the woman sees her husband-the person who could not possibly let the new Louise exist, she dies of horror of realizing that she will have to return to her old ways if she stays alive. Ironically, only the reader knows the real cause of Louise's death; her life fades together...