A Woman’s Inner Struggle for Freedom

Kate Chopin Bio’s “The Story of an Hour” talks about the inner desires of women during the 1800s amidst the limitations brought about by the patriarchal nature of society during this period of time. In “The Story of an Hour,” a man named Richards had discovered that his friend, Brently Mallard, had been a victim of a train accident. Knowing that his friend’s wife had a heart condition, he sought the help of Mrs. Mallard’s sister, Josephine to relay the news. Upon hearing the news, Louise Mallard hysterically began to cry and eventually retreated to her room.

It is when Louise Mallard retreated to the room that much of the symbolism of the story is shown. As she began to compose herself, she began to feel another feeling that reveals Louise Mallard’s true sentiments on her husband’s death. She realized that she was finally free. However, due to her obligations and expectations of society to remain as a grieving wife, she knew that she had to momentarily hide her feelings of joy just like the “patches of blue sky showing here and there through the clouds that had met and piled one above the other in the west facing her window. ”

The window is another symbolism used by Kate Chopin Bio in “The Story of an Hour. ” Women during the 1800s have been trapped by society in their own “rooms” in terms of what society expects from them. However, deep down they dream of better lives for them, one that is like what Louise Mallard sees through the window where she sees “the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life. The delicious breath of rain was in the air. In the street below a peddler was crying his wares. The notes of a distant song which some one was singing reached her faintly, and countless sparrows were twittering in the eaves.

” However, since she was still trapped inside the expectations of society, all she could do is dream about it and yearn for it privately as she did inside the confinements of her own room. Another symbolism in “The Story of an Hour” is Louise Mallard’s heart condition. At the beginning of the story, the reader would assume that the heart condition was an illness. However, towards the end of the story, Louise Mallard’s heart condition is attributed to her feelings regarding her marriage with her husband. Louise Mallard, in her solitude realized that she did not truly love her husband as she thought she did.

The heart condition was a result of her inner struggle which was experienced by women during this era, one where their own desires are repressed and inhibited by society and more so by marriage. Her death in the end was attributed by doctors to heart condition and referred to it as the “joy that kills. ” The joy, however, was not because of the realization that her husband was alive. Rather, it was the joy of a free life that she thought that she could have with her husband’s death. As it was taken away from her by the appearance of her husband at the doorstep, it took with it her life.