The Story Of An Hour By Kate Chopin – Book Report/Review Example
The paper "The Story Of An Hour By Kate Chopin" is a great example of a literature book review. The additional story that I chose to read to read was the short story “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin.
The story takes place in the late 1800s, and at the residence of Louise Mallard. Though the precise location is never revealed, the views of women and the prevalence of railroads suggest that the story occurred in the late nineteenth century.
The main character is Louise Mallard, a young woman who “was afflicted with a heart trouble” (Chopin par. 1). Brently Mallard is Louise’s husband and is believed to have perished in a railroad accident. Josephine is Louise’s sister and is the person that tells Louise about her husband’s death. Richards is a friend of Brently and, as a worker at the newspaper office, is the first to hear of Brently’s death.
“The Story of an Hour” opens with Mrs. Mallard learning from her sister that her husband died during a railroad disaster. Not knowing how to handle the news, Mrs. Mallard locked herself in her room to contemplate what Brently’s death meant for her, and what her life would be like without him. After Mrs. Mallard had some time to herself, Josephine went to check on her. As they descended the stairs together, the front door opened and Brently entered the house. Not only had he been far from the scene of the accident, but “did not even know there had been one” (par. 19). Mrs. Mallard dies upon seeing him, and her cause of death, according to the doctors, was “heart disease -- of the joy that kills” (par. 20). The conflict in the story is the confusion that Mrs. Mallard feels after learning that her husband has died. Like a proper wife, Mrs. Mallard spends a few minutes in mourning, upset by the unexpected departure of her husband. She waited for the impact of his death to fully hit her. Instead, she felt relief at the thought that she was now free from marriage. “She knew that she would weep again when she saw the kind, tender hands folded in death. But she saw beyond that bitter moment a long procession of years to come that would belong to her absolutely” (par. 11). She would miss her husband, but she was enthralled to realize that she was no longer bound to another through matrimony. She would be able to live by herself and do as she pleased without being selfish in her marriage. The conflict was that Mrs. Mallard embraced this freedom that she knew she should not have been celebrating.
Kate Chopin’s story sheds an intriguing light on the oppression that some women, especially in the 1800s, felt toward marriage. When Mrs. Mallard died at the end of the story, she did not die out of shock that her husband was alive, but from watching her freedom slip through her hands. Even though she loved her husband dearly, and he had been a devoted man, she was little more than property to him. Mrs. Mallard could never condone divorcing her husband since the duty expected of her by society was to be a wife and mother, so when she thought that her husband had died, she knew that her liberation would be acceptable. Just as quickly as she had gained that freedom, though, she had it taken away and replaced with a new freedom: the permanent liberation of death.