ENG 125 – Journey into Literature
Instructor Concetta Williams
May 20, 2013
In hearing about her husband’s death, Mrs. Mallard was sad. She wanted to be left alone with her thoughts and her imagination. Absorbing every ounce of the sights, sounds, smells and colors that she makes connections with; she looks out of her window and there is calmness like she hasn’t known before. She was dreaming of the days that lay before her and how she will make every second of freedom count. Prayers for a long life are short lived when the husband whom she thought was dead, comes walking in the door. Could it have been her heart disease or the shock to her heart of seeing her husband that caused her own death?
The story of Mrs. Mallard captured my attention in the sense that I experienced the loss of my own husband almost six years ago. There are similarities with the story that bring back some of the emotions and feelings I experienced in the time of my own personal loss. Something that captured my imagination about this story is how she initially wept, but then she needed to retreat and be alone away from her friends. She needed some time to herself. While my own story did not end the same as Mrs. Mallard’s, it did resonate some of my own feelings of sadness and freedom in a strange way. In reading the story of Mrs. Mallard, the analytical approach of reader response seemed to help me connect to the story in a personal manner. There was a familiarity that connected me with her emotions and her state of mind; as I experienced some of those same feelings. There were indications that she felt trapped and perhaps stifled in her relationship; being married to someone that was very possessive. In my own relationship with my deceased husband, there were so many times over the course of our 13 year marriage where I experienced feelings of being trapped. The last two years of his life I just wanted to run away but there was no way I could leave because I was his sole caregiver. Many times I found myself in a state of weeping out of sheer exhaustion. Weeping would not totally escape Mrs. Mallard. She prepared herself for the time that she would face her beloved one last time, but it would be under much different circumstances. She would look at him; his face without expressions, as he would lay dead. In Mrs. Mallard’s mind, she was embracing her freedom. She was relieved from the feelings of being in bondage and the thoughts that she no longer had to live her life for someone else. She would finally live the life that would bring her purpose and meaning. She could be and do whatever she desired without feeling like a criminal. She was free! Body and soul free! And yes, she did love him, but not always. She wondered what the purpose of love was as she had not truly known in her relationship. Her relationship with him was more of possession than that of love. During her time of solitude, Mrs. Mallard could imagine her quite, carefree and days and nights that were ahead of her. She was not bothered that her sister stood on the other side of the door pleading with her to come out of the room. What her sister thought was taking place inside the room was that Mrs. Mallard was grieving…