The Story of an Hour
Freedom and Confinement Quotes Page 1
How we cite our quotes:
When the storm of grief had spent itself she went away to her room alone. She would have no one follow her. (3)
Mrs. Mallard willingly confines herself. In order to achieve the physical and mental state she desires. She wants to be by herself, so she deliberately shuts herself away in her room. Instead of going out into the world and losing herself in a crowd, she tries to hold her body and mind within just one room.
Into this [armchair] she sank, pressed down by a physical exhaustion that haunted her body and seemed to reach into her soul. (4)
Mrs. Mallard's "exhaustion" almost seems to squish her. In addition to deliberately confining herself to a single room in her house, now it seems like her tiredness is confining her body and "press[ing] down" on her soul. She can't escape from this tiredness or run from it, just like she can't escape from the bad news about her husband.
She was beginning to recognize this thing that was approaching to possess her, and she was striving to beat it back with her will – as powerless as her two white slender hands would have been.
When she abandoned herself a little whispered word escaped her slightly parted lips. She said it over and over under her breath: "free, free, free!" (10-11)
Weirdly, the concept of freedom seems to take over Mrs. Mallard's body. She's "powerless" to stop the feeling of freedom from "possess[ing] her," even though the idea of freedom traditionally seems to indicate choice and personal authority. Here in order to be free, Mrs. Mallard can't be free from her idea of freedom.