Mrs Miller in Kate Chopins The Story of an Hour.

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The Widow’s Window

What aching irony it is to love so wholly the idea of independence and have it stripped from you not a minute after you’ve tasted its sweet song. To have been so close to freedom and joy and to lose it only moments later. Is it any wonder then that Mrs. Mallard’s life was cut short in wake of the bittersweet news of her husband’s return? We relive and reveal the nature of Mrs. Mallard’s tale through the obstreperous symbolism, context, and motif in Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour.”

“She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with new spring life. The delicious breath or rain was in the air.” It is clear to the reader that Mrs. Mallard has a distinctly sanguine way about mourning her husband. The entirety of the story is sprinkled with symbols of new life and a grand hopefulness. Chopin’s word choice is careful and precise in depicting an optimistic scene. There is hardly room for a reader to argue that Mrs. Mallard is not zealous at the thought of a future stripped of the chain of marriage. Chopin uses light and airy words to express the feelings of the subject upon receiving word of her husband’s death. The open window in the story speaks of new possibilities and it is no small detail that Chopin uses the suspiciously appropriate occasion of heart disease to bring an end to the life of a character so verily heartbroken.

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‘The Story of an Hour’ was penned by a female in 1894 and so it should come with no great deal of amazement that Mrs. Mallard’s perception of the world around her stems from the slave-like condition imposed on women of that time. Women in the late 1800’s were treated as property and forced to comply with the whims and wishes of their husbands. Leaving your husband would lead almost certainly to being ostracized and suffering persecution. High-standing women, as Louise Mallard seems to be, had as much power as the lower-class women. They were all expected to fill the ...

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