Summary and Response to “A Story of an Hour”
Summary and Response The desire of freedom definitely comes with an immense price. In “The Story of an Hour,” Kate Chopin describes her main character, Louise Mallard, as a freedom seeking housewife, trapped in an unwanted marriage with her husband Brently Mallard. She soon after gets granted the gift of freedom when she finds out her husband had been in a train accident, which ironically Kate Chopin’s father died of the same tragic death.
With Kate Chopin’s unique writing style, she has been a major influence in literature for decades.
According to Feminist Writers, “she opened her 19th-century female readers’ eyes to a familiar world [they] had never know. ” Authors S. Selina Jamil and Daniel P. Deneau both analyzed the story and gave their opinions on how the emotions of Louise affected internally and externally. With two different viewpoints on the short story, both authors provide valid points when scrutinizing the direct variation when it came to Louise’s motives. When reading “The Story of an Hour,” one is drawn into the troubling tale of Louise Ballard and how she reacts to her trying times as a thought to be widow.
The ending throws the reader for a loop and is completely unexpected, but that’s Kate Chopin’s writing style. The story is unpredictable, enjoyable, and controversial, and definitely leaves the reader satisfied. S. Selina Jamil responds to the piece of work, “The Story of an Hour,” completely different than Daniel P. Deneau. Deneau describes the story as a sensual experiences internally occurring within Louise in his critical essay called “Chopin’s The Story of an Hour. ” Deneau places much emphasis on the passage that concludes that Louise has become “free” (Chopin 247).
Then he concludes that she forms a sexual unity with the supernatural. “With no male aggressor-partner named in the text, only a “something,” readers naturally will speculate. For me, two possibilities exist—both supernatural…” (Deneau). From then on Daniel P. Deneau infers that when Chopin uses phrases like “Her pulses beat fast, and the coursing blood warmed and relaxed every inch of her body” (Chopin 247), “slightly parted lips”, and “keen and bright eyes”(Chopin 247) that she was hinting at a sexual innuendo.
Seeing that Chopin does have a background that consists of stories that consist of controversial sexual topics, I can see how someone would mistakenly think “The Story of an Hour” would be yet another provocative piece. Contemporary Authors Online said that “She is best known for her 1899 novel, The Awakening, a once-scandalous account of one woman’s growing sexuality in the American South during the Victorian Era. ” Kate Chopin mainly wrote about compelling stories, with a dose of sexual controversy.
Yes, what Louise went through was a life altering, pivotal time, but a sexual experience seems far-fetched. She begins mourning over her deceased husband, but soon after she begins to grasp that she is no longer oppressed by the male dominant figure in her life. Deneau states that “In a limited space, and without the assistance of a psychological vocabulary, Chopin may have been forced to rely on the indefinite, the unidentified, which, as best we can judge, is some powerful force, something supernatural, something beyond the realm of mundane experience or the rule of logic. I oppose his views on the “supernatural” force compelling Louise to prosper in her feelings and begin to move forward in her life. According to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, the “supernatural” is relating to an order of existence beyond the visible observable universe; especially: of or relating to God or a god, demigod, spirit, or devil. All Louise did was begin to pay attention and react joyously to the new season that had begun to blossom. The views of S. Selina Jamil are polar opposite.
Providing valid structure and content, Jamil begins her critical essay “Emotion in The Story of an Hour,” with strong overview of the emotions that Louise seems to be going through. A weak mind and meek hearted woman by the name Louise Mallard begins to fall prey of society’s cookie cutter views on how men and woman are treated. In her feminist studies, Norma Basch clearly concludes that women have the right to prosper just as men do, but during the time in which the short story occurred; woman became more complacent in their everyday roles as just a housewife.
Norma describes a marriage that is male dominant is somewhat a “form of slavery” (Basch 355). Trapped and suffocating in her daily routines as a silenced housewife, Louise receives the news about her husband. Emotions overwhelmed the blushing bride, and she soon found herself to be a widow. ”Until her moment of illumination, Mrs. Mallard’s emotions have been stifled and suppressed to fit into the mold of hollow social conventions,” say Jamil in her critical essay.
Emotional pain hits Louise and all she could do is bask in her sorrow, but soon enough an overwhelming feeling of “freedom” washes over her as the new life of the old Louise Mallard was beginning to unravel. Feminist Writers states that in The Awakening “Edna commits suicide by walking out, naked, into the ocean…” and then proceeds to say that “The act of suicide is a positive embracing of freedom, and act of re-birth. Kate Chopin shows in her writings that empowerment of being free is so strong that it can lead to death. In the hour that Louise sits and collects her thoughts she becomes more self-aware than many do in a lifetime. Completely agreeing with Jamil, she states that “For one hour of emotion, Louise does glimpse meaning and fulfillment. ” The irony of the story is that her success of actually becoming a free woman was not long lived but cut short all because of heart trouble. The growth of emotional awareness informs mechanisms that that underwrite the emergence of self-identity and social competence,” (Dolan 1194) Dolan describes that once someone becomes confident in their self-awareness that they will have reached the peak of satisfaction. What does it actually mean to be happy? Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary state that it can be defined as enjoying or characterized by well-being and contentment. Clearly Mrs. Mallard got her dying wish of happiness and even though it was short lived, the feeling to her could last a lifetime.
Between “Emotions in The Story of an Hour” and “Chopin’s The Story of an Hour,” S. Selina Jamil was the powerhouse when it came to providing and incorporating importance of the entire story, instead of just a section Daniel P. Deneau did. Jamil broke down “The Story of an Hour” into the perfect guideline in following how Mrs. Mallard emotions played out throughout the hour she experienced a mix of emotions. Jamil gave more examples that used the whole story instead of just a cluster of the short story, making it harder to follow.
The context of “Chopin’s the Story of an Hour,” by Daniel P. Deneau was completely off set compared to S. Selina Jamil. All in all each essay from both of the authors were good; one surpassed the other by using certain specifics. Mixing both emotions and surrounding features, S. Selina Jamil got the upper advantage of the group because of how much information she covered, and how she described Mrs. Mallard’s ever changing emotions. Works Cited Basch, Norma. “Invisible Women: The Legal Fiction of Martial Unity in Nineteenth-Century America. ” Feminist Studies 5. (1979): 346-66. JSTOR. Web. 15 March 2012. Chopin, Kate. “The Story of an Hour”. Literature and the Writing Process. Ed Elizabeth McMahan et al. 9th ed. Upper Saddle River: Pearson, 2011. 246-247. Print. Deneau, Daniel P. “Chopin’s The Story of an Hour. ” The Explicator 61. 4 (2003): 210+. Academic OneFile. Web. 14 March 2012. Dolan, R. J. “Emotion, Cognition, and Behavior. ” Science 298. 5596 (2002): 1191-94. JSTOR. Web. 15 March 2012 Jamil, S. Selina. “Emotions in The Story of an Hour. ” The Explicator 67. 3(2009): 215+. Academic OneFile. Web. 14 March 2012.