“A Breathe of Life, Vanquished”
For a modern American woman, freedom is a way of everyday life. The opportunities for a woman to pursue any career are something that is often taken for granted. The power of choice is no longer a dream, but it is rather second nature. Women can be athletes, in the military, travel, stay at home with the kids, or pursue business careers and virtually do or be anything. Women can even run for president. In the bittersweet short story by Kate Chopin, “The Story of the Hour,” it portrays the quiet struggle of a woman of the pre-feminist movement given a chance to taste that freedom, only to have it dissolve before her. I believe Chopin goal is to suggest that the human need to be independent individuals overpowers the confines of love and marriage.
Kate Chopin’s short story portrays the life altering rollercoaster ride of ups and downs that transpire within the last hour of the life of a Mrs. Louise Mallard. Delicately, the short story begins by mentioning a heart affliction that plagues Mrs. Mallard, and whom should be given “great care” when being told of her husband’s untimely death (1). Mrs. Mallard’s sister, Josephine was burdened with the task to carefully tell Mrs. Mallard of her husband’s unfortunate death in a “railroad disaster” (2). Upon hearing the news, Mrs. Mallard does not attempt to deny her grief, and she openly embraces her anguish through sobs with her arms around her sister (3). Once her composure is gathered, Mrs. Mallard takes herself to her room alone. Sitting in her room looking out the window at the activities flowing around her, she could feel a thought rushing to the forefront of her mind. She at first tried to suppress it, but at last it overcame her. It was like a dam had burst, her heart beat quickened, and a warm tingling took over her body. A voice whispered within her, “Free, free, free!” (4). In the mist of her grief, a moment of utter clarity rose from the ashes. She was suddenly given the gift to leave the life for herself, and not to have her husband’s will impose on her any longer. Mrs. Mallard never suggested that he was abusive or neglectful, but rather he treated the relationship with the best of his intentions, but failed to ultimately allow Mrs. Mallard any significant freedom. Mrs. Mallard does love her husband, “more or less,” but with the new revelation embraces whole heartily the idea of true