"The Story of an Hour" summay, analysis, and commentary

Essay by alphasybariteCollege, UndergraduateA+, March 2004

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"The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin is a fictional short story, assumingly set in the late 19th century. Before the plot, it is mentioned that the main character, Mrs. Mallard has a heart condition and is frail and weak. Upon receiving news of her husband's death in a fatal accident from her husband's friend Richards, Mrs. Mallard grieves in her sister's arms overcome with sorrow and shock. Following her initial reaction, she retreats to her room alone where she locks the door behind her, sits down in an armchair and looks out an open window at the world below. She sadly admires the simple happenings such as the trees, a cart merchant, birds, and the smells and sights of springtime. Her eyes fixate on the blue sky that peeks out through the grey clouds in the west and feels an unexplainable, unavoidable event is about to occur.

Suddenly, she becomes enveloped in ironic thoughts of freedom and exemption from a "powerful will that bended hers in that blind persistence," referring to a previous life of marriage to Brently Mallard. She realizes that from her loss, she is about to gain personal freedom and the ability to live for herself exclusively. She whispers to herself repeatedly the word "free" to verbalize her thoughts and in her mind she sees "spring days, summer days, and all sorts of days that would be her own." Shortly hereafter, her sister Josephine comes to the door insisting to be let in seemingly concerned with her sister's health. Elated, Mrs. Mallard crazily escorts her sister downstairs where she is greeted by Richards. Immediately following this, her husband walks through the door, unaware of the events which had occurred earlier. Richards quickly tries to block Mrs. Mallard's view of her husband...