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The Story of an Hour: an Hour That Lasts Forever

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In Kate Chopin's short story "The Story of an Hour" we (as readers) are taken through a brief, yet very descriptive, sixty minutes of one woman's life- Mrs. Mallard. The story is quite explanatory and conveys Mrs. Mallard's deepest, innate feelings and reactions to be being told her husband has just died; where she conveys a short-lived ecstasy of freedom and relief. Why (exactly) this joy is present, is not clearly known. However, one (reader) may interpret that Mrs. Mallard is a woman who had long been in a relationship with a man whom she may have not truly wanted to be. And a part of herself had died or become dormant. But once she heard the news, we are slowly given the expressive interpretation that this character's dormant self had just been exhumed; rebirthed. And then abruptly, we are thrown at us the shocking twist the he is still alive... And, even more shocking, is Mrs. Mallard's reaction to it.

The opening line of: "Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with heart trouble, great care was taken to break to her as gently as possible the news of her husband's death" (652), sets the whole premise and tone for the rest of the story. Her sister, Josephine, was the person who broke such bad news to Mrs. Mallard. However, the way she perceived it was not of the norm for a lady of that time and day. There was no resistance to weeping, or sadness; as she (wept at once). Then, once the (grief had spent itself), she was on her way to her room. Alone.

It is in this room where the reader gets an inside view of Mrs. Mallards deepest affections. It is via Chopin's raw imagery that we readers are conveyed Mrs. Mallards position at the time. Mrs. Mallard was sad, but something else was rearing its head: "There was something coming to her and she was waiting for it, fearfully" (653). "She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life" (652), here, it may be interpreted that Mrs. Mallard feels anew; possibly reborn. Delicious breath of rain was in the air" (652): this breath of fresh air seems to be Mrs. Mallards craving. The clouds were opening up, only to show a beautiful blue colored sky. A beautiful picture lay in front of her eyes.

At first glance, it may have seemed as though Mrs. Mallard was a grieving widow, who cried out for her deceased lover. And this may have been true. But that sadness changed into something greater. It evolved from something adverse and gloomy, into something favorable and alive. The more she fought the feeling, "striving to beat it back with her will" (653) the more it overcame her. Ultimately she agreed with and welcomed it. Although she knew that she would cry once more for her departed, she also knew "there would be no one to live for" (653) in the upcoming years. And this, she welcomed with open arms. Here, Chopin explicitly



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