Short Analysis on “The Story of an Hour” by Robert Frost Essay
In general, for one to be happy is a positive emotion, and does not lead to the loss of one’s life. However, that is precisely what took place in “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin. Mrs. Mallard finds out that her loving husband was dead, but sees him walk in the door on the same day. Normally, the same events would bring about a pleasant surprise for the wife, but the author does not intend to end the story that way, instead, Chopin would have Mrs. Mallard die from the shock of find out that her husband is still alive.
There are many factors that play a part in Mrs. Mallard reacting the way she did, most of which are only hinted at by describing the events that took place when she went into her room. Chopin uses irony to emphasize the severity of the social status in her time. The first line of the story mentions that Mrs. Mallard has a heart problem followed by the news of an accident that her husband was affected in. She reacted right away by sobbing, which may be extreme, but is still a reasonable response and not strong enough to affect her heart.
Afterwards, she requests to be in her room alone, it is then when she realizes that she is free from the oppression of marriage even though her husband was loving towards her; she is free because her husband is now gone. However, though Mrs. Mallard’s realization may be true, she still showed signs of resistance towards such a thought. The passage, “There was something coming to her and she was waiting for it, fearfully. What was it? She did not know; it was too subtle and elusive to name.
But she felt it, creeping out of the sky, reaching toward her through the sounds, the scents, the colour that filled the air” (Chopin, 73), tells readers that in the social status that she lived in, being a free woman is so abnormal and normally unapproved of that she fears what she will soon realize; that she herself will become a free woman. Shortly after, Mrs. Mallard enters a short trance in which she undergoes an enlightenment of sort.
She confirms her freedom and looks forward to her future life; “she saw beyond that… a long procession of years to come that would belong to her absolutely… There would be no one to live for her… she would live for herself. There would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow creature. A kind intention or a cruel intention made the act seem no less a crime…” (74). The readers are shown the kind of relationship married couples have.
Both man and woman are said to impose a private will upon each other, hinting that though they loved each other, they sometimes over asserted their own beliefs onto one another. It also tells readers that Mrs. Mallard disapproves of such a relationship. This gave her much more happiness compared to the sorrow she felt at her husband’s death. At the end of the story, her husband returns home unscathed – there had been a mistake on the news of his death – and that shock was a much bigger shock than his death, that right at that moment, Mrs. Mallard dies. In the end, Mrs.
Mallard survives the initial shock of hearing about her husband’s death and even feels enlightened because of the news. However, just to emphasize the happiness she felt, Chopin chooses to bring Mr. Mallard back, to have his return be such a downer that it is enough to give Mrs. Mallard a heart attack. This story gives readers a clear picture of what being a married woman is like in the author’s time.
Chopin, Kate. “The Story of an Hour. ” 1894. Elements of Literature. Ed. Robert Scholes, Nancy R. Comley, Carl H. Klaus and David Staines. 4th Can. Ed. Don Mills : Oxford UP, 2010. 519-520. Print.