Analysis of "The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin
The short story is rich and complete with words that carries deep sense and a lot of meaning. Along with the theme of the story, there are a lot of metaphors, similes, symbolism and irony. The main character in the story, Mrs. Mallard has a heart disease, and her life experiences is something that everyone doesn't have the opportunity to have the happiness of freedom; but as you continue to read her story you'll understand it only in the end of the story.
In the beginning of the story you'll find out Mrs. Mallard has heart problems, and the news of her husband's death is brought to her "as gently as possible," once Mrs. Mallard was told the news from her sister Josephine, she cried immediately, "She did not hear the story as many women have heard the same, with paralyzed inability to accept its significance." But Josephine honestly thought she would be really upset to hear the news. Yes, "she wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment, "but it's the first reaction to the news, without comprehension of what happened and how her life has now change.(Chopin 516)
Mrs. Mallards starts to comprehend the news later on in the story as the author tells little by little how she comes to realize it. She goes to her room, "there stood, facing the open window, a comfortable, roomy armchair. Into the she sank "to point out another symbol "There were patches... west facing her window." I think this symbolizes death in the story. Reading the words, "a comfortable, roomy armchair" can symbolize security and comfort in spite of her husband's death, and "the open window", here symbolizes her being open and connecting to a new life. (Chopin 516)
The story also describes Mrs. Mallard experiencing "something" strong reaching for her, and the sounds, scents and colors in the air as she looks out her window could symbolize her getting in touch with her life, feeling free from her husband's boundaries and becoming a new person. She saw all these things as if it was the first time. However, I think at one point she was afraid to happy about her freedom "she was striving to beat it back with her will." This may indicate Mrs. Mallard realizing that society might view her thoughts of freedom inappropriate, expecting her to mourn her husbands death forever, but she can't stop herself from feeling happy. She whispers "Free! Body and soul free!" She feels a "monstrous joy," and realizing that she will weep again. "She was beginning to recognize this thing that was approaching to possess her ". When she start to be aware of her new found happiness, she feels that it's wrong and suddenly feels a sense of guilt. "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." These words show that she was unhappy with her marriage, she couldn't show her own will and that's why she was so happy to be free! (Chopin 517)
Expecting "spring and summer days, and all sorts of days that would be her own", at this point of the story it seems to be at its highest moment, and then here comes the irony. At the end of the story Mr. Mallard opens "the front door with a latchkey." He enters "composedly carrying his grip-sac and umbrella."He doesn't even realize what has happen. (Chopin 517)
The final view of irony was in the end of story, because of the outcome of Mrs. Mallard,"of joys that kills" she dies. This is ironic the story occurred within an hour, but the author makes it seems like a few days. She only needed and hour to realize she didn't need her husband to be happy or feel free, and maybe when she saw her husband alive again she choose to die rather than live under her husband's constraints again, especially after having a sense of freedom in just one hour. The message in this bittersweet short story "live life to the fullest while you can" Mrs. Mallard seemed to be living under constraints and didn't know how to become free and live life.