The Story of an Hour
In Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour," Louise Mallard has a rather peculiar response to the news of her husband's death: instead of mourning for him, she's overcome with joy by her new freedom. If you think that's weird, wait until you see what happens at the end of the story.
|19th-Century Literature||19th-Century American Literature|
|American Literature||19th-Century American Literature|
All American Literature
|Author||Chopin - Kate Chopin|
|Themes||Freedom and Confinement|
Language and Communication
Morality and Ethics
And just when you’re counting the perks of being a
widow. . .
. . . who walks through the door?
That’s right – your slightly undead husband. Now, we can imagine anyone being shocked by
this turn of events. . .
. . .but our heroine Louise actually takes it one step further.
So, why did she die at the sight of her husband? Could it have been strictly a physiological
response? She did have a heart condition. . .
. . .so seeing a “ghost” might have been all it took to send her over the edge.
Or maybe she just couldn’t go back to her old
life. . .
. . .and checking out was her only option.
Seems a little extreme. . .
. . .but she did say she was looking forward to living for herself. . .
. . .and escaping the “powerful will bending hers”. . .
. . .so maybe the idea of returning to a submissive life. . .
. . .was something she just couldn’t handle. Was the author, Kate Chopin, trying to make
a point, killing off Louise. . .
. . .to say that death was actually preferable. . .
. . .to living a life as a powerless wife? Or maybe Louise’s guilt got the better of
her. . .
. . .and she died of shame. She just couldn’t face her husband after
her positive reaction to his “death”. So, why did Louise kick the bucket?
Did a bad heart let her down. . .
. . .was she unwilling to go back to her former life. . .
. . .or did guilt and shame do her in? Shmoop amongst yourselves.