Kate Chopin wrote The Story of an Hour in the year 1894.The protagonist's character is Louise Mallard a young married woman who suffers from heart disease thus the relatives have to be keen and gentle when revealing the news of her husbands death. She weeps and cries in front of her relative and later goes to her room where she reflects about her life, marriage life and now the free woman she has become. Viewing across the room, Louise feels a weird feeling followed by confusion. She starts thinking about the joy and beautiful summer she will spend without her husband (Chopin, 2013).
Louise loved the husband as she says but the irony of her being happy after his passing shows that the husband might have been cruel. She lacked freedom, but the demise of the husband is a sign of better days ahead filled with liberty (Ianc 2015). Her death is caused by the extreme joy she felt. Kate Chopin reveals the truth that real freedom is only obtained when we get rid of the confinement (Chopin 2013). The life of protagonist Louise shows the truth of this statement and theme. Louise lived as a captive at her home with no physical, mental and freedom of expression.
Firstly, freedom is achieved when we allow a hopeful and affirmative mind to take control. Mental confinements lie in our minds. Having an intelligent thought and serenity in mind restores the lost hope of freedom. Mrs. Mallard life comes to an abrupt change when she realizes that freedom lies in her mind. New spring life and delicious breath of air acts as her turning point. The awakening makes her see the bright, happy future full of freedom (Ianc 2015).
Secondly, freedom is obtained when a person accepts the present situation and adapt to the change despite the situation. Bondage of the past life is a hindrance to freedom and moving on. Physical and mental freedom requires an individual to leave behind all the factors that act as barriers to liberty and adopt the new changes. Mrs. Mallard had inner conflict from the time she received the news of her husbands death. She wanted to deal with the conflict alone and decide on the way forward since at long last she will be left all alone to decide on her life (Chopin 2013). The realism of the situation gave Louise a renewed strength and desire for freedom. The words Free, free, free that escape Mrs. Mallard mouth shows her acceptance and willingness to leave the old life of confinement (Sabbagh, 2016).
Thirdly, Women are mostly restricted and denied their freedom by their husbands or family ties. They live in family bondage with restricted movements and freedom of expression. The liberty begins from the moment they decide to leave the slavery imposed by family ties and live their own lives. Basing this fact on the experience of Mrs. Mallard, it is clear that her husband was cruel and denied her freedom as a woman (Lee, 2015). Her husbands death gives her whole freedom to do anything she had wished and admired to do. She doesnt have to live in fear of her husband since she has full control of her life.
Lastly, a person can achieve their true self and confidence once they get released from the confinement. Freedom increases a persons confidence and makes them believe in themselves (Sabbagh, 2016). Relief from the bondage rises self-esteem and self-recognition. Detention to the traditional and societal norm hinders attainment of freedom. Sometimes keeping off from the traditional beliefs gives us the freedom we desire (Lee, 2015).
Freedom is only achievable when one sheds their confinement and achieve the physical and mental state they hoped to attain. To accomplish this, one has to break from the bondage of family ties and slavery which hinders our freedom. Again, accepting the present situation no matter how harsh it is increases our freedom. Louise realized that having a calm and constructive mind will give her the freedom and happiness she had wished for since she got married. It shows that our mind is the custody of our freedom and the key to free us from oppression.
Chopin, K. (2013). The story of an hour. Blackstone Audio.
Iancu, A. L. (2015). Teaching Kate Chopin's Short Fiction. East-West Cultural Passage, 15(2).
Lee, C. (2015). Finding the Self: Tragic Self-Discovery in Kate Chopins Fiction. ThePPEREVIEW, 59.
Sabbagh, M. R. G., & Saghaei, M. G. (2014). Conjured-Up Reality Shattered: Examining the Uncertain Ideology Underlying Chopin's The Story of an Hour. Procedia-Social and Behavioral Sciences, 158, 296-303.
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