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Essay for Kate Chopins "story of an Hour"

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Enc 1102

SU 2012

Essay/Story of an Hour

Kate Chopin

I perceive the story to be written as an adult about a childhood fantasy of sorts. The fact that Louise Mallards husband was supposed to have been killed in a "railroad disaster" (Madden 71) is a vital part of her own mothers life when Kate Chopin was five years old. The exception to the story however, is that Kate's father really did die in the tragic accident (Kate 2).

Eliza Faris O'Flaherty, Kate's mother, was widowed at 21 and never remarried, which followed a pattern of the females on Kate's maternal side (Kate 2). Therefore, not having a male figure as the head of her family may have caused a story to unfold in Kate's imagination in which a father figure may actually appear out of nowhere, as in "the story of an hour" (Madden 72). As a child, in her household, the widows were the strongest individuals (Kate 2). So it would be easy to see why Kate would re-write her life story to depict an ending of contrasting results, a sort of fantasy involving what if's.

I conceive Kate's mind reflecting back on her own mother's reaction to the news as she writes about how Louise "wept at once, with sudden wild abandonment, in her sisters arms" (Madden 71). When she wrote of Louise's vision of "patches of blue sky" and "clouds that met and piled above the other in the west facing her window" it would be the clear and the dark circumstances facing her mother at this time in her life (Madden 71), the choices she would have to make regarding her future. Trying to "beat back" an ostensible force that seems destined to "possess her" (Madden 71) could narrate into a pre-determined lifestyle that encompassed Kate's mother, grandmother and great grandmother alike. The sister, Josephine, begging for entrance into her sister's life, reflecting one of six siblings in Eliza's real life, Kate portraying her with "lips to the keyhole" as wishing she were the one whom had been freed. When at last Kate writes of the decent down the stairs "like a goddess of victory" (Madden 72) it bequeathed triumph over mundane, solemn rituals and exulted in freedom, whereas only to be turned into a façade of hope for a prominent woman (Eliza) to become victim, instead of survivor. Her mother actually being the one to die could represent a completely different lifestyle for the child Kate, allowing her mind to encompass a whole new world with a father.

" The Story of an Hour" could probably take place in a day; however, the title that Kate chose makes an impact on emotional transitions. I have lived days that seem like only an hour, and hours that have seemed like days. When my father died, I was six, I was

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