Full Dissecting Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour”
Kate Chopin’s The Story of an Hour is a short story proficiently written within the setting of an hour where events have been skillfully told. It is a story full of figures of speech where readers could not easily pinpoint not unless one spends enough time to analyze the parts of the story. For instance, the wife is first presented with a heart trouble, introduced as Mrs. Mallard. The identity of her husband was not revealed until the end of the story when he was described entering the house, fresh from travel. His name is Brently Mallard, a name which could be quite unique but queer and only analyzing the story would bring an explanation to the author’s choice of name for her character. From the full name, one could derive the term ‘malady’ meaning disorder or disease which could be the source of the wife’s heart trouble or could be her very trouble. Although the story ends with the tragic death of Mrs. Mallard because of her heart condition, her marriage could well have contributed to her sickness.
The story reveals the woman to have wanted a free life where she was able to go out and enjoy the beauty of the outside world however, her marriage kept her inside the house that seemed to imprison her. Her room that showed a clear view of the open square where life was going on is a representation of the life that she had been dreaming of. A life that was just near her reach but always seemed to be just a dream because of the wall between them. The life that was free from walls, from the orders, wills and desires of her husband who imposed what she was supposed to do and not do was what she wanted as portrayed in the story during her meanderings in her thoughts.
The setting of the story that was contained inside the house during the whole part of the story may also have a story in itself to tell. For instance, the freedom that the main character dreamed of never came to pass because she died in the end, when she saw her supposed dead husband, arriving home. The house that served as her prison seemed to contain even her dreams, avoiding her to attain the freedom that she always wanted. The death of the main character also represents the death of her dreams. On a wider point of view, Mrs. Mallard represents women during the time the story was written, a period where women were expected to stay home and do the household chores, attend to their husbands and children. This could well be a time when women were perceived to be far from attaining the freedom and equal treatment among men modern women enjoy today. So when the wife died at the end of the story, it gave an implication that the desire of women before, for a life that has equal rights as that of men, is simply impossible and thus ends in death. The impossibility of such freedom might have been very clear to Chopin during that time that she killed her character, with the growing strain between men and women and more especially with the rise of the heated hatred among races during her era. Whatever would have been the author’s point of view in presenting her ideas regarding the situation, she did it fairly well in a manner where her words ring through the ages, the use of short stories that reflect her time and culture.