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How does Kate Chopin help you to understand Mrs Mallard's Experience of freedom in 'The Story of an Hour'?

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English Literature Coursework Yu Ka Ying (Tamari) Pre-1914 Prose 25th March, 2004 How does Kate Chopin help you to understand Mrs Mallard's Experience of freedom in 'The Story of an Hour'? You might wish to consider: -What she has been freed from - What effect her freedom has on her -The words Chopin uses to describe her sense of freedom In "The Story of an Hour", Mrs Mallard, who has a heart attack is the main protagonist. Like any ordinary women, she is a normal housewife who depends on her husband. The news of her husband's death gives her freedom and sets her free from restraints, marriage and a lifetime of dependency. Kate Chopin uses several techniques to create the image of how freedom affects Mrs Mallard. At first, Mrs Mallard is shocked by the news which is shown in "She wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment, in her sister's arms." and "When the storm of grief had spent itself she went away to her room alone." These describe her immediate response and tell that she is so shaken by the news that she weeps at once and goes away alone. Chopin uses some special diction like "sudden", "wild abandonment" and "storm of grief" to indicate that the news is very abrupt and unsettling. ...read more.


In "Her pulses beat fast, and the coursing blood warmed and relaxed every inch of her body." shows that she feels relieved to the new life. "Pulses beat fast' and "relaxed every inch" describe apparently that she is inflamed and becomes fearless to life. "Creeping out of the sky, reaching toward her through the sounds, the scents, the color that filled the air" is a metaphor which marks the recognition of freedom and meanwhile hints that freedom is in Mrs Mallard's mind. These create the impression of how much Mrs Mallard has been released. Chopin also writes "...her bosom rose and fell tumultuously." and "she said it over and over under her breath: "free, free, free!" The vacant stare and the look of terror that had followed it went from her eyes." to strengthen the relieving mood. Here, Chopin uses "tumultuously" to state that Mrs Mallard is very excited and meanwhile, she uses repetitions of relief to create a strong image of disembarrassment which causes Mrs Mallard to have a flicker of guilt. In this Kate Chopin uses "vacant stare" and "look of terror" as a pathetic fallacy to declare that there is a contradiction in Mrs Mallard's emotion. In Mrs Mallard's action "did not stop to ask" describes that she is feeling uncertain which is also be shown in the paradox "Monstrous joy". ...read more.


Chopin also uses another metaphor "Her fancy was running riot along those days ahead of her." to describe that Mrs Mallard is imagining her future blazingly that everyday will like "spring days, and summer days" which is completely joyful indicating that everyday in her future is blessed. Kate Chopin uses a comparison in "She breathed a quick prayer that life might be long." and "It is only yesterday she had thought with a shudder that life might be long." These make a big contrast between Mrs Mallard's attitudes to life before and after independence as Mrs Mallard "pray" to live longer now but yesterday she is still frightened to live long. Chopin compares "pray" and "shudder" to stand out Mrs Mallard's change of attitude to life and highlight that Mrs Mallard is now really enjoys life which is reinforces in "Feverish triumph in her eyes, and she carried herself unwittingly like a goddess of Victory." as it suggests that Mrs Mallard is stimulated and is being confident and proud by the trophy. Here, Chopin uses fascination diction "feverish triumph" and a simile" like a goddess of victory" to reflect Mrs Mallard's emotion which create a very strong image of exultant which shows that she becomes optimistic to life and proud or even pride of herself. Chopin plots this to contrast to the ending "She had died of heart disease-- of joy that kills." which makes a dramatic ending and marks the climax of the story. ...read more.

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