In Kate Chopping “The Story of an Hour, the author uses irony and symbolism in order to emphasize her argument: even the kindest and most loving of marriages can be oppressive. In this short story, Mrs.. Mallard, who Is the main character, is a middle-class woman who has just lost her husband In a terrible accident. Her sister and one of her late husband’s friends are there, and It Is they who break the news to her, being careful about It since she has heart problems. “Knowing that Mrs.. Mallard was afflicted with a heart trouble, great care was taken to break to her as gently as possible the news of her husband’s death. (p. L). Knowing about her husband’s death, she (Mrs.. Mallard) locks herself in her room to apparently mourn and instead realizes that she has escaped from the grasps of marriage and is “free, free, free! ” at last. She embraces her newly found freedom and triumphantly gazes at the life ahead. Near the end, she comes out of her room and walks arm In arm with her sister down the stairs to find her late husband at the door, which causes her heart to give way, in what the doctors proclaimed “of heart disease?of joy that kills. When she is first told of her husband’s death, she retreats into her room and locks the door behind her, biding to be left alone. Once on her chair, she starts to let her feelings flow through her, at first, there is sadness and mourning, but later on she realizes that she doesn’t feel all that bad about her husband passing away, Instead, she feels happy and rejoiced, and starts to look forwards to those days she had dreaded the day before. “She breathed a quick prayer that life might be long.
It was only yesterday she had thought with a shudder that life might be long. ” She looks out of the open window in her room and sees the permitting in its bloom, with birds flying about, sparrows singing softly, patches of clear blue sky showing here and there. All of these are symbols for hope and freedom. Birds are creatures without boundaries, without limits and unbound to the ground, which we could take to mean marriage. She now feels Like a bird, able to fly off into the sky, leaving her grounding marriage behind.
It is basically a symbol of freedom and hope for the future. This also tells us that her marriage, even though it wasn’t a violent and unloving marriage was an oppressive one. ” She knew that she loud weep again when she saw the kind, tender hands folded in death; the face that had never looked save with love upon her, fixed and gray and dead. ” And “And yet she had loved him?sometimes. Often she had not. What did It matter! ” These unable to do as her heart desires, bound to an unloving marriage forever.
Now, she has been given the chance to be free, to choose herself what she truly wants and the open window is the symbol for that. Outside of it lie all of her possible futures. Finally, she finishes by accepting her freedom and whispers the words she dreaded o much to say “free, free, free! ” Finally, the cause of her death is her failing heart. She dies when she realizes that all of her dreams of freedom and independence have been shattered by the appearance of her undead husband. There is a kind of sick irony in this.
First off, we thought it was he who had died, but at the end their roles are reversed and it is she who ends up dying. Next, the doctors assume that she died of “Joy that kills”, in other words, she was too happy of seeing her husband well and alive that is was too much of her heart. The reader, who has had access to ere thoughts and desires, knows that she dies of sadness of not being able to carry on living freely and independently without him. She dies because he shatters her dreams, not because he fulfills them.
This takes us to Chopping second argument, that death is the only way out of the confinements of marriage. For all we know, Mrs.. Mallard stays at home quite a while, since her chair is “sunken in” which leads us to believe that it is frequently used and therefore she spends most of her time at home. This confinement is what she can’t stand of marriage, unable of doing the thing she wants when she wants to do them. The only way she is able to escape this imprisonment is by the death of her husband, which sets her free.
Chopin is basically arguing the old saying “The truth shall set you free”. Knowing that her husband has died, she lets the truth take hold of her, realizing that she’s finally going to be happy. But when Mr.. Mallard strides unknowingly through the door, she collapses on the floor and dies. The truth, that he wasn’t actually dead has set her free, has parted her from her oppressive marriage. At the very beginning of the story, in fact, the very first thing we know about Mrs.. Mallard is that she has heart problems “Knowing that Mrs.. Mallard was afflicted with a heart trouble… In this short story, Mrs.. Mallard’s heart disease is a symbol for her marriage and marriage in general in the technetium, in which marriage lies at the heart of society. Marriage is the beating heart of society, what binds it together, and is therefore an unbreakable bond, if you were to go against it you would go against society itself. This, from Chopping (Kate) point of view is unacceptable; marriage should be kept only if there is love, unlike Mrs.. Mallard and her husband. “And yet he had loved him?sometimes. Often she had not. What did it matter! The author makes the heart represent marriage, and to show that it is a broken institution she gives Mrs.. Mallard heart problems. This is a clear statement against marriage, telling us that it has lost its meaning and has become a sickly form of binding people together. In the story, it also foreshadows the events that happen later on, namely, her death due to a corrupt and broken marriage. In her short story, Kate Chopin tells us that women feel oppressed by marriage whether it is a loving marriage or not, and hey crave for freedom and independence.
She does this with the help of symbols such as the open window, representing spring, freedom, hope, independence, and the possibilities of her new life and breaking the bonds of an oppressive marriage, the heart problem that afflicts Mrs.. Mallard which represents how marriage is “sick” only way a woman can escape marriage by having her die instead of him who supposedly died at the beginning of the story. All in all, she tells us that all marriages confine women and deprive them of their freedom and independence, that oppression is in the very nature of every marriage.