Confinement And Freedom In Kate Chopin's The Story Of An Hour

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In “The Story of An Hour,” the theme of the story can be derived from two ideals: confinement and liberty. Mrs. Mallard, who feels dominated by her husband and imprisoned in her home, patiently waits her potential freedom. A reader may interpret Mrs. Mallard to be the average, stereotypical wife until her husband is falsely pronounced dead in a train accident. The reader then learns that Mrs. Mallard is not at all who she seems when she reacts in ways that reveal her true desire to live amongst her own company rather than other people. Mrs. Mallard felt confined to her husband and felt only his domination over her. Kate Chopin informs the reader of an important note about Mrs. Mallard: “And yet she had loved him–sometimes. Often she had not” (Para. 15). This woman was not a woman of companionship; she would thrive on being single. However, considering the story’s setting, she would have hit rock bottom if she never chose to marry. Failing to find a husband could have resulted in her living in poverty and dying in extremely poor conditions. As the story progresses, the reader may begin to understand how much influence the husband has over the wife. He has an amount of power to the point that “Even his dead body seeks a way to enter…show more content…
Mallard, one can conclude that she suffers defeat by being the lesser of her marriage. After years of being an accessory to her husband, Mrs. Mallard could not help but to feel completely taken with pleasure at the thought of her husband’s supposed death. In her mind, her husband’s death meant that she would finally be open to the world, that she could now live her life in whichever way she dreams. This new-found feeling of freedom caused her to act in ways she would never consider around her husband. She locks herself into her room to collect her exuberant thoughts and to confirm it to herself that she no longer must live according to her condescending
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