In the short story “The Story of an Hour” Kate Chopin centers on the subjects of relationships, marriage, and independence. Chopin conveys these ideas through the character Mrs. Mallard, a recently widowed woman who soon after her husband’s death discovers her new independence. One theme that could be drawn from this piece is a relationship with such precedence such as marriage, regardless of how healthy it may be or how happy the people are, is going to be a limiting factor in some respects.
When Josephine and Richards inform Mrs. Mallard of her husband’s supposed death, she grieves just as anyone would when faced with losing someone so dear and close to you. Not long after she comes to the realization that she has no reason to mourn her husband’s death as she is now free, free to do as she pleases for the rest of her life. When Mrs. Mallard is informed that her husband has died she is given a taste of independence, a pleasure which she seems to almost forbid herself from because of her marriage. The condition of the sky is symbolic in this text of Mrs. Mallard’s thoughts. Immediately after she is done crying she goes to her bedroom and sits at the window, “There were patches of blue sky showing here and there through the clouds…” (Meyer 15). These patches of blue sky are the beginning of her realization that she is now free and as the story continues she only becomes more aware, “There was something coming to her and she was waiting for it…she felt it, creeping out of the sky, reaching toward her…” (Meyer 15). Mrs. Mallard begins to repeat the word “free” at this point it can be assumed that she has come to the final realization that her with her husband now gone she is free to do as she pleases. This freedom is so overwhelming that it seems to almost posses her for a time. It’s as if she has never experienced the chance to make her own choices before in her life. Josephine, presumably being able to hear her sister, yells and begs for her to open the door. Mrs. Mallard though will do no such thing as she is now “free” she doesn’t have to listen to anyone anymore she was “…drinking in a very elixir of life through that open window.” (Meyer 15) When Mrs. Mallard finally opens the door she carries herself “like a goddess of Victory” because in her eyes she has won. Like a super bowl trophy being handed to a quarter back, to her that new found