The Story of an Hour
Freedom and Confinement Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
There would be no powerful will 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. A kind intention or a cruel intention made the act seem no less a crime as she looked upon it in that brief moment of illumination. (14)
Mrs. Mallard's "illumination" does away with context and motivation. Now all that matters to her is that she can achieve freedom. Past ties and expectations, stripped of "a kind intention or a cruel intention" are revealed as shackles that have been tying her down. Even the love of a good person keeps one from being free.
What could love, the unsolved mystery, count for in face of this possession of self-assertion which she suddenly recognized as the strongest impulse of her being! (15)
Can love really just be cast aside like this? Here, Mrs. Mallard reduces it to the "unsolved mystery" and presses on, casting aside her feelings for her husband and however many years they've been married for this freeing idea of "self-assertion." It's hard to say if she's crazy with grief, if she's in denial, or if it's possible to be unhappy in a purely regular marriage. You know, like Don and Betty Draper in Mad Men.
"Louise, open the door! I beg, open the door – you will make yourself ill. What are you doing Louise? For heaven's sake open the door." (17)
Even though Mrs. Mallard is finding freedom behind the closed door, Josephine doesn't understand it. Instead, Josephine is worried Mrs. Mallard will "make [her]self ill." The confined space seems dangerous from the outside. Perhaps, though, if Josephine knew what Mrs. Mallard was really thinking, she'd be even more convinced about the danger of being alone.