Theme Analysis on “The Story of An Hour”

In the book, “The Story of an hour”, the main character, Louise Mallard, is noted to have a weak heart. Following her husband’s death, through a train accident, the main issue that rung in her mind was not the mourning, but the newly found freedom. The word, “free” become fixed in her mind and it seems it is all she can afford to think about. Her sister, Josephine, makes attempts to console her and is concerned when she locks herself in her bedroom. Mrs. Mallard unlocks the door and the two sisters’ head downstairs. They hear the fiddling of keys on the front door, and Mr. Mallard enters. Apparently, he had not been part of the train accident that had been alleged to have killed him. Seeing her healthy husband, Mrs. Mallards gives a sharp scream and drops down dead. The doctors indicated that she had died because of too much excitement, that her weak heart failed. In the book, The Story of An Hour, the theme of freedom and independence emerges as the most important aspect of life.

The theme of freedom and independence is better understood from the character Louise Mallard. Upon receiving the news of the death of her husband, Mrs. Mallard appears to be overcome with grief, which is evident in the way she weeps in her sisters’ arms. It then becomes clear to Mrs. Mallard that the death of her husband came with newly found freedom. It is clear that she saw the death of her husband as an opportunity to eliminate the barriers that come with being a married woman. Mrs. Mallard appears to be delighted with the idea that with no husband to tie her down, she would be able to spend the rest of her life the way she deemed. Death had put her on track of being a woman with no limit.

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With the idea of freedom and independence, this literary work aims at conveying the message in the status of women in the 19th Century within the American society. Marriages can be identified as one of the ways through which women found themselves oppressed and with many limitations. Mrs. Mallard believed that through the interaction of marriage, both men and women became obstacles to each other’s freedom. The situation was worse for women, as it can be deduced in this case, where the husband who was supposed to be dead caused the death of the wife. This reflects a society that was resistant to female empowerment. 

Two characters who are used in this story are Mr. and Mrs. Mallard. Mr. Mallard’s presence and absence are critical in bringing out the theme on freedom independence. The alleged Mr. Mallard’s death is represented as a path of breaking off the chains of lack of freedom for Mrs. Mallard who would enjoy the independence and freedom of being a widow. However, this return of the “dead” indicated that Mrs. Mallard would be denied her short-lived freedom. So big is the return of Mr. Mallard, that it causes Mrs. Mallards to collapse and die, thereby permanently taking away all the freedom she had acquired. 

Mrs. Mallard’s actions that reveal the theme of freedom and independence include locking herself in her bedroom. This reveals that finally, she could be on her own in life, free from the obstacles caused by living a married life. She unlocked the door and together with her sister, headed downstairs. This reflects after being tied down and denied her independence, she was finally coming out of it and was ready to realize what her newly found freedom meant.

Mrs. Mallard’s words and thoughts are highly relevant in bringing out the theme of freedom and independence. While confined in her room, Mrs. Mallard continuously spoke the word “Free”. From this, it can be identified that the death of her husband granted her freedom that she had so much yearned for. The story expounds on Mrs. Mallard idea on freedom through revealing her thoughts. Through Mrs. Mallard’s thoughts, it is clear that she appreciated being a widow due to the freedom associated and living a life as an independent woman.

The events that illustrate the theme on freedom and independence in the book, “The Story of an Hour”, include; the train accident, locking of Mrs. Mallard in her room, and the return of Mr. Mallard. The train accident had been indicated to be the cause of Mr. Mallard’s death thereby setting the stones rolling on Mrs. Mallard’s freedom. Mrs. Mallards received the news of the death of her husband and locked herself in her bedroom. While in the bedroom, the only thing that she can think of and speak on is her newly found freedom. It is clear that Mrs. Mallard held the view that her marriage denied her independence to enjoy life. The return of Mr. Mallard to his home marks the end of the freedom and independence that Mrs. Mallard had celebrated about and leads to her death.

The narrator is very essential in bringing out the theme of freedom and independence in the book. The narrator explains how Mrs. Mallard received the news of the train accident but was paralyzed by the inability to accept its significance. This possibly indicates that to her the accident had deeper a meaning. The narrator helps us to understand the experiences that Mrs. Mallard expected to enjoy in her newly-acquired status of being a widow. The narrator’s explanations about different events help to bring out the theme of freedom and independence.

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