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‘The Story of an Hour’ by Kate Chopin takes us on a rollercoaster ride of emotions displayed by Louise upon hearing the news about her husband’s death. This story serves as an advocate for women’s rights and feminism. Ms. Mallard is represented as a symbol of women and their situations of the time when the story is written. The death of her husband brought grief to Louise but upon further evaluation of her life she viewed herself as a victim of oppression, unfolds a new perspective of life and freedom gazing through an open window, and decides to live the rest of her life for herself; unfortunately, died of grief when she sees her spouse alive again.

When she heard that her husband is no longer in this world, she burst into tears and went to her room alone. Then she began to glance at her life. Her husband is not a bad person, but rather a kind gentleman. She seems to have a successful marriage, but not a happy marriage. She was not happy with how her husband treated her, though his intention was to take care of his sick wife. Unconsciously, he had been imposing his will upon her, taking away her identity, dreams, and ideals of life. He might have failed to meet her emotional, psychological, and sexual needs. Mr. Mallard seems to be away from home on different business trips, staying away from Louise. One cannot simply be happy just because her partner treats her well. She might have some expectations and some desires which were not fulfilled. Her inner wishes look as though they have been suppressed for a long time. “There will be no powerful will bending her in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow creature” (Chopin, 443). It suggests to us that different persons in her life have stripped her of freedom and restrained her with their will. She had no identity of her own. Her unique identity and her freedom have always been chained by other strong characters of society. Louise thought she had never been herself and had lived her life fulfilling the expectations of other people.

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She had been gazing from the open window of her room resting on the armchair. It was a pleasant day with patches of blue sky, the smell of rain in the air, and the sounds of a melodious song with twittering sparrows. She opens her mind and soul while looking through the window. “The trees quivered with new spring life”. (Chopin, 443). This symbolizes that her life is going to be filled with joy and freedom, just as trees are filled with new leaves in spring. She was still young and beautiful and could have a new beginning in life. Something was trying to posse her. She resisted this new feeling, but when she gave up, she had a new enlightenment. “She said it over and over under her breath: ‘Free, free, free!’” (Chopin, 443). At this point, she realized she could start over a new life. She knew she would feel sad seeing her husband again at the funeral, but she looked at the days beyond that. She could finally have her own identity and cherish her life. She could now make her own decisions, and no one will be there to criticize her. For the first time in her life, she had a taste of freedom. She can be independent and, finally, free from all the oppression. Ironically, the death of her husband became a blessing to her. There are insights of freedom in the story too. She is called Mrs. Mallard at the beginning of her story, and later – Louise. It symbolizes that she had been living the identity of her husband and it is finally time to make her own identity.

People might counterattack my thesis arguing that marriage was never a problem, it was the attitude of Mrs. Mallard herself. Mr. Mallard was a fine husband and he provided great care to Louise. Mrs. Mallard, in fact, never loved her husband. She was grateful for his generosity but never grateful to him as a wife. She made herself a victim of the marriage. “And she had loved him-sometimes. Often she had not. What did it matter” (Chopin, 443). Here it just says that she always had mixed feelings about her marriage. She never wanted to make the marriage successful, but did complain about her restraint. Mr. Brently might have been treating Louise the way other women have been treated. Maybe he was a controlling husband and Louise could never speak up to him about her desires. It was the attitude of Louise towards her husband and her marriage that made her the victim. How could a wife be over her husband, the husband who never mistreated her so quickly, and be happy about being free from all restrictions?

There is no denying that Louise was over-excited about her husband’s death and got over the grief too quickly. Her reaction could be explained by the social context she lived. Given that the story is supposed to resemble the society of the 1890s. Women held little to no rights at that time. They were not allowed to vote, neither allowed to hold property. A woman’s role included child-bearing, caring for children, and having to live according to their husband’s desires. All these activities were normal at that time. They had no authority and no free will. Louise was not the victim of her marriage, but the victim of society. Her husband indeed took great care of her, but he had no idea that she had repressed all her feelings. Her zest for freedom could be compared zest of a bird who lived in a cage all her life, and now she is free. The little birdie will indeed be grateful to her caretakers and might feel sad for them. When she looks ahead to her days flying free in the sky, her excitement will take over the grief. Louise is the caged bird in the story.

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