Thursday, April 19, 2012

Short Fiction Review: The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin (1894)

  Mrs. Millard lost her husband in a railroad disaster. Her sister told her gently because Mrs. Millard has heart problems that can risk her health. Upon knowing the news through her sister who found out through her husband’s friend, Richards, she cried a lot and took heed in her bedroom. She sat facing an open window thinking about her astonishment. All of a sudden it hit her. She was free. Free from the power of man and all his burdens placed upon her. The wind was blowing through her hair and the sound of rain was heard, and the sound of music, all describing her re-birth and her new ability to feel again. Motionless, Mrs. Millard was a young calm individual whose been repressed too long in time. Her husband never showed her affection or love. She felt like this sense of power was processing her when in fact, it was joyfully exciting her. She was able to breathe again. 

   She then imagines the future when she is to see him in his coffin, dead. She pictures the occasion and knows that she will cry upon the sight of him. The kind hands folded and his face that never showed her love. Imagining all the years of freedom to come, she dismisses the imagery. 
    She would live for herself; this revelation served her with the best joy she had ever felt before in her life. Her sister Josephine begged her to open the door for she thought Mrs. Millard was ill in sadness. The front door opened and her husband walks in. The arrival kills Mrs. Millard. 
          I feel bad that the wife was so suppressed by her husband and making him happy that the happiness she felt was like no other feeling she had ever felt in her life. It was beyond her grasp as his appeared to be alive after all. The fact that throughout the story it wasn’t known what her name was. She was identified by her husband’s last name, Millard. I found that to be a nice trick. She was miserable in her life and I’m supposing it was what caused her heart problems. 
    Nowadays, a woman is able to leave her husband especially if she is unhappy with her marriage. Some women are so dependant on their husbands that they cannot leave them no matter how unhappy they are. It’s sad to know that one cannot live one’s life due to another person who according to society is “superior” when in fact, they are equal. 


  1. story of an hour meaning is the story about a woman who begins to feel alive after hearing the news about her husband’s death and who dies after having realized the truth. The point of the story is in taking the opportunity. The main character allows herself to live the moment and pays the price. The happiness about the husband’s death strengthens the shock thus killing the poor woman. The short story does not have a central theme. It combines different issues such as freedom, guilt and shock.

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