Critical Analysis to Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour”
Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” allows one to explore the ironic situation in which a woman unpredictably feels free after her husband’s assumed death. Chopin uses Mrs. Mallard’s bizarre story to illustrate the marital problems that were inherent in marriages in the early 19th century. In “The Story of an Hour,” the main character, Mrs. Mallard, celebrates the death of her husband, yet, Chopin challenges readers of all backgrounds, gender, age, and cultural societies to analyze, question and criticize the behavior of Mrs. Mallard during the-time-of-her-’loving’-husband’s-assumed-death.
Chopin portrays the stereotypical marriage Mrs. Mallard endured during the 19th century. It was the kind of marriage that established boundaries between men and women and consisted of a lack in communication between the marital partners. “She was young, with a fair, calm face, whose lines bespoke of repression and even a-certain strength” (15). She proves this by illuminating the reader early in the story that Mrs. Mallard, “did not hear the story as many women have heard the same, with a paralyzed inability to accept its significance” (15). She cries at once, but shortly after, she starts to feel free and welcomes herself to “the new spring life” (15). The most important clue that explains Mrs. Mallard’s unpleasant marital life can be established when Chopin tells the reader that Mrs. Mallard, “saw beyond that bitter moment a long procession of years to come that would belong to her absolutely and she opened and spread her-arms-out-to-them-in-welcome”(16).
Chopin demonstrates that Mrs. Mallard understood the significance of her doomed marriage only after she received the news of her husband’s railroad accident that led to his unfortunate death. Only minutes after, she starts to feel very different: “There was something...