Story of An Hour – English Composition Essay
An unknown author once said, ”Don’t cry because it’s over, and smile because it happened”. This is how Mrs. Mallard looked upon the news of her husband’s death. She did not cry, but rejoiced at her newfound freedom.
This was her chance to redo her life and move on. In the short story “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin, Mrs. Mallard gets the news of her husband’s death in a train accident. There is a pattern in the story of Mrs. Mallards new freedom around her and coming out from the darkness. The imagery in the story describes the vivid picture of an open window and peaks of blue sky to help her realize the potential in this situation. She weeps at first, feeling alone and dark in her house but realizes that this occurrence has given her the freedom she strives for. She moves from the house that is holding her back to a new life.
Mrs. Mallard lives in a dull, gray house, which has its comforts but does not satisfy her needs. After hearing of her husband’s death, “she went away to her room alone. She would have no one to follow her” (45). Her view of the world had changed; she now had a “dull stare in her eyes” (46). She was trapped in a room slowly encapsulating her. In the room there was only on thing to give her comfort was a “comfortable, roomy armchair” which faced an open window, a window that would be her escape. Everything seemed to be going wrong until something came to her. “She felt it, creeping out of the sky, reaching toward her through the sounds, the scents, the color that filled the air. This line, full of imagery, is extremely important because after this point Mrs. Mallard realizes her life has begun again.
The symbols and images used by Kate Chopin to give the reader a sense of Mrs. Mallard’s new life appearing before her, come through her view of the open window. Mrs. Mallard could see “the tops of trees that were all aquiver with new spring life [and…] The delicious breath of rain was in the air” (45). She could hear “the notes of a distant song which someone was singing” (45). And “there were patches of blue sky showing here and there through the clouds” (45). The imagery of blossoming spring life in Chopin’s story is a sign of Mrs. Mallard’s new life as well. She was trapped in darkness all alone but an open window brought her her new sense of freedom.
Mrs. Mallard felt overwhelmed by her day’s happenings until she felt a rush come upon her. “When she abandoned herself a little whispered word escaped through her slightly parted lips. She said it over and over under her breath: ‘free, free, free!’” (46). She felt overjoyed all of a sudden about the news of her husband’s death. “Her pulses beat fast, and the coursing blood warmed and relaxed every inch of her body” (46). She realizes that this event is her chances to get away and live her life the way she wants to. It is not that she did not love her husband it is that “she loved him – sometimes” (47).
Kate Chopin uses these images to show Mrs. Mallard’s surroundings as one with her feelings. Mrs. Mallard feels trapped and alone in her room until she realizes the true potential of what has happened through the open window that showed her the world outside her dull, gray life. “She was drinking the very elixir of life through that open window” (47).
Chopin, Kate. “The Story of an Hour”. The Seagull Reader: Stories. Ed. Joseph Kelly. New York: W. W. Norton & Company, Inc, 2001. 45 – 47.
“Quotes of the Heart: Life Quotes and Proverbs”. HeartMath. 10 Apr 2005.