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American author Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour" is a cornerstone of feminist literary analysis. The tale, which was first released in 1894, describes Louise Mallard's tumultuous response to learning of her husband's passing.

It's challenging to talk about "The Story of an Hour" without bringing up its ironic conclusion. Since the story is only approximately 1,000 words long, you should probably read it if you haven't already. An exact, free copy is offered by the Kate Chopin International Society.

News That Will Devastate Louise at First:

Richards and Josephine feel they must inform Louise Mallard about Brently Mallard's passing as gently as they can at the beginning of the story. "In fragmented phrases; veiled suggestions that revealed in half concealing," Josephine told the woman. They make the fair assumption that Louise will be devastated by this inconceivable news and that it will endanger her frail heart.

A Growing Understanding of Freedom:

Louise's increasing realization of the freedom she will have without Brently, though, suggests something even more unbelievable lurks in this tale.

She initially forbids herself to consciously consider this freedom. Through the "open window" that she looks out of to see the "open square" in front of her house, the knowledge is conveyed to her symbolically and without words. The phrase "open" is used several times, emphasizing its potential and absence of limitations.

Clouds with Spots of Blue Sky

The scene is vibrant and hopeful. The air is "sweet breath of rain," the trees are "all aquiver with the new spring of life," sparrows are twittering, and Louise can hear someone singing a tune off in the distance.

She watches these patches of blue sky without enrolling what they might cruel. Depicting Louise's look, Chopin composes, "It was not a look of reflection, but or maybe demonstrated a suspension of shrewdly thought." In case she had been considering intellectuals, social standards might have avoided her from such a sinful acknowledgment. Instep, the world offers her "hidden clues" that she gradually pieces together without indeed realizing she is doing so.

A Force is too Strong to Resist:

Louise actually fights against the impending realization, viewing it "fearfully." She tries "to beat it back with her will" as she starts to grasp what it is. However, it is impossible to withstand its might

Because Louise initially appears to be relieved that her husband has passed away, this story might be unsettling to read. But that's not entirely true. She realizes she hasn't stopped crying for Brently as she recalls his "gentle, tender hands" and "the face that had never looked upon her except with affection."

Her Intention to Be Independent:

But because of his passing, she has realized something she hadn't previously and might never have if he had been alive: her need for autonomy.

As soon as she enables herself to acknowledge her impending independence, she repeats the word "free" again while savoring it. Acceptance and joy take the place of her apprehension and her blank stare. She anticipates "years to come that would fully belong to her."

She'd live only for herself:

One of the story's most significant chapters describes Louise's idea of self-determination. She wants to be completely in charge of her life, "body and soul," rather than just getting rid of her husband.

The Ironic Death of Joy:

In the climactic scene, Brently Mallard walks into the house unharmed and looks completely normal. He is "rather travel-stained, holding his grip-sack and umbrella with calm." His unimpressive demeanor stands in stark contrast to Louise's "feverish triumph" and her ability to descend the stairs like a "goddess of Victory."a

The reader instantly grasps the irony when the physicians state that Louise "died of heart disease — of joy that kills." It is apparent that her astonishment was caused less by her husband's survival and more by the loss of her beloved, recently acquired freedom. Louise did momentarily feel joy—the joy of visualizing herself in charge of her own destiny. And her death was brought on by the loss of that profound delight.



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