Essay About Story and Symbolism in Book 'The Story of An Hour'

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The Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” is one of the interesting stories that I have read ever in my life. What I mostly liked about the story is that it is full of mystery and irony as it ends up with so many doubtful questions. Moreover, the way the writer uses the symbolism in her story is outstanding. She used symbolism to reflect the long-hidden emotions and desires of Mrs. Mallard towards sides of her married life. She tried to create an image of oppressed women, which cannot do anything without husbands will and will have no more freedom once she gets into the marriage life.

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The first symbol I will talk about is heart trouble. In general, the heart is the symbol emotional core. At the very beginning of the story, the writer informs us that Mrs. Mallard is afflicted with heart trouble. It means that she has a heart condition, and indeed, a heart attack is what kills her at the end of the story. Her heart troubles symbolize not only her emotional feelings associated with the marriage, but also the breakdown issue in the fundamental structure of the society which is marriage.

As Mrs. Mallard was sick, so there could be a possibility of contention between her and her husband. In short, using this condition as a symbolism the writer illustrates the fact that women of her era get trapped into their marriage lives as they lost their identity and freedom after getting married. Secondly, Chopin may also be using an open window as symbolism for Mrs. Mallard freedom from marriage. When she heard about her husband’s death, as a result, she badly cries for her husband. At the same time, she was sitting in front of an open window which could be considered symbolically very important because it was shown as an open gate to Mrs. Mallard new self-possessed life. Her mind is about to open into some new ideas. As she sits in front of the open window, she observed life full of energy like the chirping of birds, patches of blue sky breaking through clouds. A lot of positive image is portrayed using the symbol “open window” that will bring happiness into her life. I think Josephine and Richard could also be symbolized as the common male and female figures. They symbolize the way society sees widows and their influence on them. The writer demonstrates that she was feeling free for the moment, but it was the society that brings her down again.

As the writer said, Mrs. Mallard at first feels to realize her new freedom, but then, she is again confronted with renewed suppression by the reestablishment of subjugation to her husband and society. What I understand is that Kate Chopin tried to portray the image of suppressed women through her story. She also presents how the woman of the 19th century was entrapped between her desires and societal expectations after getting married. After reading the story, It is clear that the marriage was functional, but she still appreciated the short freedom that she had when she thought her husband was gone. Moreover, she dies not only of a heart attack, but also of the snatching of that freedom. The realization that she will have to go back into a subservient role and will have to bend her will to someone else really kill her.

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