Instructor: Lauren Edmondson
Love is the most common theme that is used in literature by many authors. Chopin author of “The Story of an Hour” and Carver author of the “What We Talk about When We Talk about Love” touch this theme in their stories in a unique way. Both authors try their best to explain true love and those problems that arise in love through their characters. The main themes of “The Story of an Hour” lead to self-love, freedom, and marriage. In addition, the foremost thesis of “What We Talk about When We Talk about Love” points at the elusive nature of love as well as love and isolation. “The Story of an Hour” is one text which points at the issues of self-love, freedom, and marriage. For instance, when the main character Mrs. Louise Mallard’s sister reveals that Mr. Brantley Mallard has died, Louise cries instead of getting shocked as the other women would. Her vicious reaction exposes that she is a great over emotional woman. When the moments of grief pass, she goes to her bedroom and feels excitement instead of grief for her husband or fear for her future. Louise’s inner feelings of enjoyment expose when she falls herself in an armchair in front of an open window and “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!" (706). The essence of Chopin argue is self-love and independence. Mrs. Mallards is not cruel, she loves her husband as Chopin herself writes “And yet she had loved him – sometimes. Often she had not” (706). Chopin’s point is that Mrs. Mallard loves her husband; nevertheless she loves herself more and wants freedom.
This story was written in 1894, which was a time period where women didn’t have any rights. It was the male dominating society, and women had to depend on them. Women had to stay at home, do chores, and raise children. Though, the men were responsible for bread earning. Women had to obey their husbands, due to dependency. Mrs. Mallard is suffering the same circumstances. She is trapped in an oppressive marriage. For instance, she doesn’t has her own personality as the story shows. She is called by her husband’s name Mrs. Mallard instead of her first name Louise. Furthermore, Mrs. Mallard has a heart problem which Chopin characterizes as “heart trouble” (705) instead of heart sickness. In other words Chopin believes that Mrs. Mallard was suffering with both physical and emotional trouble. Physically with her body and emotionally with her husband. This heart problem also indicates that Mrs. Mallard feels her marriage has tyrannized her, and she is confined in a lot of ways through her marriage. For example, the plot of the story displays that Mrs. Mallard is never be shown in shopping mall, or theater, or any club except her house. Chopin corroborates the age- old adage that Mrs. Mallard has to just stay at home, do chores, and obey her husband. For the reason that, she wants to escape from those confinements and look for freedom. Chopin agrees when she writes, “There would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow creature”(706). In other words Chopin believes in freedom. Mrs. Mallard can get freedom by divorce, but divorce was an awful act in old times. So, the only way to escape could be the death of her husband. At the moments when she heard the news of her husband’s death, physically her heart beat fast, emotionally her heart was filled with the feelings of relief as she whispered again and again “Free body free soul” (706). She was looking for a brighter future ahead in her imagination in which there would be no confinements and no tyrannizes. In which she would just think and care about