ISC Story of an Hour Workbook Answers
‘The Story of an Hour’ does not trace Louise’s repression, but her reaction to her husband’s death says it all. Discuss.
‘The Story of an Hour’ by Kate Chopin tells the story of Louise Mallard who begins to experience her new found freedom as soon as she hears of her husband’s death. His death frees her from her imprisonment in marriage. When Mrs. Mallard learns of her husband’s death, she is overcome with grief. But when she is alone in her bedroom she begins to feel a previously unknown sense of freedom and relief. At first, she is frightened of her new insight: “There was something coming to her and she was waiting for it, fearfully. When she first says the words “free, free, free!” she is said to have “abandoned herself.” But after she speaks these words, she relaxes and gains more control over herself.
As she imagines life without her husband, she enjoys visions of the future. She realizes that whether or not she had loved him was less important than “this possession of self-assertion” she now feels. Louise recognises the idea of attaining selfhood and identity as a woman. It was such as strong a force that, when she realized that her hushand was alive, she immediately collapsed. Chopin suggests that Louise could not bear to abandon her new found freedom and return to life with her husband. where she would be required to bend her will to his.
Mrs. Mallard is known in the beginning of the story only as a wife; very little is known about Mr. and Mrs. Mallard’s relationship.
Even Louise is unsure whether or not they had been happily married: “And yet she had loved him-sometimes. Often she had not. What did it matter! “. The conventions of marriage overshadow the Specifics of a husband-wife relationship. Thus, society’s concern was more important than the couple’s personal relationship.
Louise when alone in her bedroom bagins to feel free and happy. She feels this new found freedom coming to her that she never experienced before. It is her joy at her husband’s death, that make the readers realise the confinement she was in. She thus feels realesed from the clutches of matrimony.
Only when Louise feels free from the shadow of her husband Louise appears young and calm. Everything around her is in full bloom, spring has arrived, as opposed to the time before her husband’s death when the felt dead and lifeless.
She now realizes that “there would be no powerful him 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”. Whether one is acting out of love or not, Chopin seems to be making a comment on nineteenth-century marriages, which granted the man the tight to own and dominate another, the woman. The male domination in the life of women was most common in an era when women were not even allowed to vote. Taking control of her life as she descends the staircase, the sight of her husband entering the house becomes a “joy that kills” her.