Kate Chopin uses contrasts in The Story of an Hour to reinforce her major points and give a better understanding of the theme to readers. The Story of an Hour is a story of a woman who had a variation on her emotions when she thought she lost her husband. The story first starts off with the news of her husbands death. Mrs. Mallard, the protagonist, first wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment, but after she went into a room, she sat on a comfortable, roomy armchair and saw new spring life and patches of blue sky showing here and there through the clouds through the window. Even though the death of Mr. Mallard should have been a tragedy, she only had a little shock, not sadness. She then went into a comfortable room and saw a new life coming to her. Dislike other characters anticipation Mrs. Mallard would be depressed, she rather found to be hopeful and joyful. The setting of the story is nineteenth century, a period when men had taken power over women. Same for Mrs. Mallard, she had an unwanted marriage that her husband had a control over her. Realizing that her husband was dead, she was first afraid of having a life of herself, but soon became very happy that there would be no one having a power upon her life-she could have her own identity, Louise back. The comfortable room and new spring life shown through the window clearly show the new life Mrs. Mallard can live by herself and for only herself.
When Mrs. Mallard first realized that she felt joy of the freedom she got from her husbands death, she was afraid to accept the feeling. There was something coming to her and she was waiting for it, fearfully too subtle and elusive felt it, creeping out of the sky is the line showing Mrs. Mallard fearing to realize her true reaction and emotion towards her husbands death. However, she soon said, free, free, free!. She finally accepted that she wanted to live a life of her own without anyone having a control over her. During the period of the story, women had no power. Mrs. Mallard did not have a right to choose and had to follow what her father or husband demanded her to do. Therefore, loosing her husband meant a great joy to her, giving her freedom to make her own decisions. The reason she hesitated to reveal her feeling was that women were not allowed to live a life without men having a control over them. She also did not know what selfhood was like. But, she decided that since her husband was dead, she could have a power and live by herself just like men did. The change of her emotions shows how weak women were during the nineteenth century, how men dominated women, and how women began to make changes in their social roles.
The Story of an Hour ends with a sentence, When the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease-of joy that kills.. After seeing Mr. Mallard walked in the front door, Mrs. Mallard died. The doctors said that Mrs. Mallard died because she was too happy to see her husband alive, but they were wrong. After hearing the news of her husbands death, Mrs. Mallard had lots of thoughts of herself; she realized how much she wanted to be free. She got her identity back and dreamt of the future that she would pursue her own goal. She thought, There would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence What did it matter! What could love, the unsolved mystery, count for in face of this possession of self-assertion. She recognized the happiness and greatness from the selfhood. As she appreciated the freedom, identity, and selfhood, she died because she could not bear to abandon her new life coming.