Essay, Research Paper: Story Of An Hour

Literature: Kate Chopin

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During the realism unit, one finds that the unexpected is around one at all
times and The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin reminds one that life is
unpredictable and full of surprises. It was a regular day for Mrs. Mallard when
the news of her husband Brently Mallard came. Mr. Mallard was one of the many
occupants on the train during the railroad disaster. Life seemingly would not be
the same for Mrs. Mallard who has a heart disorder, or would it be? This short
story displays the stages of unpredictable life that can be full of sorrow,
happiness, and surprises. First Mrs. Mallard was heart broken after the news of
her husbands untimely death. How can one take such news that is so unpredictable
and unbelievable? To be sure, it was not until she received the second telegram
that officially confirmed the death of Brently that she was able to completely
apprehend what had happened. “She sat with her head thrown back on the cushion
of the chair, quite motionless, except when a sob came up into her throat and
shook her, as a child who has cried itself to sleep continues to sob in its
dreams.” Mrs. Mallard reacted much like anyone going through such an awful
experience, possibly in shock, and set herself into shut down mode. What’s
more, Mrs. Mallard was once a repressive, strong and happy woman, and now
“there was a dull stare in her eyes whose gaze was fixed away off yonder.”
“When she abandoned herself, a little whispered word escaped her slightly
parted lips. She said it over and over under her breath: free, free, free!”
Mrs. Mallard’s bitterness grew with every passing moment. Furthermore,
embedded memories began to cross her mind and she could only see herself and her
selfishness. In addition, she saw this unexpected death as a way to set her
free. She would no longer live for Brently or his needs, but only for herself
with no string attachments to hold her back. Mrs. Mallard had loved Brently, but
only sometimes and felt at times she was entitled to feel such hate and
betrayal. “Free! Body and soul free!” Mrs. Mallard was off in her own cruel
world. She also thought of the future that was her own and the new life she
would lead that would be long and prosperous. Mrs. Mallard now opened the door
with glow, almost as if she was a goddess of victory. Besides, her happiness was
directly associated with the telegram of her husbands death. As she was walking
down the stairs with her sister Josephine, there was a noise coming from the
front door. Next, her husband Brently Mallard walked in and Mrs. Mallard
surprised, did not welcome Brently with open arms. Furthermore, it appeared that
Mr. Mallard was not on the fatal train and had not even known about an accident.
Mrs. Mallard was shocked as if she had seen a ghost that she fell to the ground
grasping her chest and escaped into eternal rest. “When the doctors came they
said she had died of a heart disease- of joy that kills.” In conclusion, Mrs.
Mallard’s joy did not kill her but the disappointment that she would not be
free. The surprise that fell on Mrs. Mallard was unwanted at first only because
it was unexpected, however towards the end she found that subconsciously this is
what she wanted all along, but for the wrong reasons. One reacts in different
ways when confronted with everyday surprises in real life situations. Do not
believe everything you hear!

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