Literary Response to "The Story of an Hour" Essay

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Response to "The Story of an Hour" Response to "The Story of an Hour" In reading “The Story of an Hour” the reader experiences the emotions of Mrs. Mallard, a woman who believes she is now a widow. It is an intense journey, beginning with her coming quickly to the realization that she is free. “She said it over and over under her breath: “free, free, free!” . (Chopin, 1894, p. 15) The intensity at which she feels this freedom is in direct response to the limited choices a woman had in this day and time. Men ruled the lives of women in whatever role they played, be it a wife, a mother or a daughter. This was a trap our character realized had sprung wide open. Fearful of hope, she crept towards the light slowly, painfully. “There was something coming to her and she was waiting for it, fearfully.”(Chopin, 1894, p. 15) The symbolism of the open blue sky outside the window and the sparrow song represent a life without borders, a life without a husband. Our character, Mrs. Mallard, did not admit to herself she was trapped. Whether or not she loved this man called her husband is of no regard. It is an unwanted love, an unwanted relationship to which she found herself bound. The husband could be either loving or not, the relationship itself is the crime. “A kind or cruel intention made the act seem no less a crime as looked upon in in that brief moment of illumination.”(Chopin, 1894, p. 16) Daring to hope for another reality during that day and time by women was frowned upon. Mrs. Mallard herself did not know if the joy she felt at her husband’ death was good or bad, hopeful or wrong, she embraced it. “She did not stop to ask if were or were not a monstrous joy that held her.”(Chopin, 1894, p. 16) The dramatic irony the end of story provides a clue to this. Her brief joy at his death would not be murdered by his sudden appearance in the land of the living.

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