The Story of An Hour

In Kate Chopin\'s short story "The Story of an Hour," there
is much irony. The first irony detected is in the way that
Louise reacts to the news of the death of her husband,
Brently Mallard. Before Louise\'s reaction is revealed,
Chopin alludes to how the widow feels by describing the
world according to her perception of it after the "horrible"
news. Louise is said to "not hear the story as many women
have heard the same." Rather, she accepts it and goes to her
room to be alone. Now the reader starts to see the world
through Louise\'s eyes, a world full of new and pure life. In
her room, Louise sinks into a comfortable chair and looks
out her window. Immediately the image of comfort seems to
strike a odd note. One reading this story should question the
use of this word " comfortable" and why Louise is not
beating the furniture instead. Next, the newly widowed
women is looking out of the window and sees spring and all
the new life it brings. The descriptions used now are as far
away from death as possible. "The delicios breath of
rain...the notes of a distant song...countless sparrows were
twittering...patches of blue sky...." All these are beautiful
images of life , the reader is quite confused by this most
unusual foreshadowing until Louise\'s reaction is explained.
The widow whispers "Free, free, free!" Louise realizes that
her husband had loved her, but she goes on to explain that
as men and women often inhibit eachother, even if it is done
with the best of intentions, they exert their own wills upon
eachother. She realized that although at times she had loved
him, she has regained her freedom, a state of beeing that all
of G-d\'s creatures strive for. Although this reaction is
completely unexpected, the reader quickly accepts it
because of Louise\'s adequate explanation. She grows
excited and begins to fantasize about living her life for
herself. With this realization, she wishes that "life might be
long," and she feels like a "goddess of Victory" as she walks
down the stairs. This is an eerie forshadowing for an even
more unexpected ending. The reader has just accepted
Louise\'s reaction to her husband\'s death, when the most
unexpected happens; her husband is actually alive and he
enters the room shocking everyone, and Louise especially,
as she is shocked to death. The irony continues, though,
because the doctors say she died of joy, when the reader
knows that she actually died because she had a glimps of
freedom and could not go back to living under her husband\'s
will again. In the title, the "story" refers to that of Louise\'s
life. She lived in the true sense of the word, with the will and
freedom to live for only one hour.

Category: Book Reports