The story is about a woman known as Mrs. Mallard and she had problems with her heart. Her husband was involved in an accident and because of her condition good means of letting her know of this were to be used. It was her sister who brought the news to her and also a friend to the husband who happened to be in the newspaper office when they got the news that Brendly Mallards was in the list of those who had died from the road accident. Her sister named Josephine broke the news to her. When she was told the story she was shocked and she wept as her sister held her on her arms and in a short while she abandoned her sister. After receiving this news she went in her room alone and she did not want to have anybody follow her. Inside her room she stood facing outside through the window that she had opened seated in a roomy chair which was comfortable. She felt that she could now be satisfied physically and from the way she looked she had attained the desires of her soul.
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She peeped through the window and saw the tops of the trees which were outside her house which all seemed to a have a new life beginning. There was a delicious breath from the rain. There was also a cry that she could hear which was coming from a peddler. She hears the notes from her house. When she looked at the sky it showed some patches of blue sky which were concentrated in one place and they had piled on top of each other on the western side of her window. She sat with her head leaning on the cushion of chair quietly but time to time she could be shaken by a sob which came up in to her throat. She behaved like a child who has been crying before he goes to sleep because he continues to sob even in his dreams. She was young, her face was calm and fair and she seemed to have strength in her. However the stare which was on her face was dull and her stare was fixed at one of the patches on the sky. The glance did not seem like she was reflecting something but rather she seemed to be having an intelligent thought. Something was to happen to her and she waited it in fear.
She did not know what was coming to her and it was elusive to name but she could feel it moving from the sky towards her passing through the sounds, scents and colour which filled the air. Severally her bosom could rise and fall and now she began to be aware of what was to posses her and she tried her best to fight against it even though her two white slender hands were powerless. There was a little whisper from her lips which she repeated several times Free Free Free. She then seemed to be relaxed with her heart beating faster. She was full of joy and she did not want to think of the source of this joy. She imagined that the other time that she will cry is the time she will see kind and tender hands folded of her husband, and the face of her husband which according to her she had never loved. But beyond these moments of bitterness she could see many years which will belong to her and she was eager on the arrival of such moments. She was eagerly waiting for that time to come when she will be in a position to feel free and enjoy herself. She wished the time could be now and welcomed it. (Gilman and Golden 37)
During that time she will live for nobody but her self. She will be free and no body will impose any rule on her like it has always been the case when two people get married. The woman is supposed to be under the man and obey what the main as the head demands of her. As for her no body will be on her way to tell her to do this or that. She was now free both in her soul and the body. Her sister kneeled from the outside of the door begging her to open the door and telling her that if she continued like that she could even make herself ill. She told her sister to go away and that she was not making her self ill, instead she was she was drinking in a luxurious manner inside the house. She was wishing that the spring days, summer days, and all other days that belonged to her would draw nearer. She prayed that she will lead a long life. She opened the door for her sister she held her sister by the waist and they came down the stares. At that time Richard was standing at the bottom waiting for them. Brently Mallard opened the door and entered from some journey. He was carrying a grip-sack and an umbrella. Mallard was very far away from the scene of the accident and he did not even know that an accident had taken place. He was amazed why Josephine was crying. Her wife was shocked and she died. When the doctor came they told him that she died as a result of heart disease .The joy that she experienced led to her death.
The story presents a negative view of marriage. This comes clearly when the woman is very happy when she receives the news that her husband is dead. She is very happy that her husband has left her with enough freedom and she will lead a happy life where she will enjoy herself. Louise did not have love for her husband. Married couples should be joined by love in them and this is required in all marriages. This portrays marriage negatively in the sense that some people may be joined to their spouses not because they love them but because of their own motif gains. The marriage between these spouses was not based on love. Therefore the text portrays marriage negatively. At the end of the story she died because of heart disease which according to the doctors was as a result of happiness when she saw her husband. The disease symbolizes a disease of marriage. She could never be free unless her husband out of her life. The fact that the disease affected the heart shows that the problem in her marriage originates from her and not from outside. The husband loved her but she did not love him in the same way that he loved her. According to the story she loved him only sometimes. Louise did not have strong feelings for her husband and that is why she is happy of his death so as to get rid of her.
The story reveals the status of Mallard. We can easily conclude that Mallard was a well off man. The home that he lives is described as having upstairs and the furnishings are comfortable. We also see that he was coming from a journey showing that he travelled to several places. He is also in a position to hire a medical doctor who diagnoses his wife and concludes her death due to heart disease. This is an image of a wealthy man. It is rich men who bother themselves with travels and having personal doctors.
There is irony in the story. According to the setting of the story the writer makes readers feel that it is going to end well. Oise will have freedom and lead the life of her choice if her husband dies. But this is not the case. The husband comes back alive and when Louise sees her she dies out of the heart disease. She does not experience the good moments that she thought she will have. When Louise is told the news about the death of her husband she goes back to her room alone and gets seated in a comfortable chair and starts staring outside. She sees the top of the trees that have new springs of life. It’s ironical that she sees the death of her husband as the beginning of her new life and she is very happy about it. Instead of mourning that her husband is dead she is happy about the episode. She would now live her live in the way she wanted it to be.
Other phrases are also ironical like Patches of blue skies showing through the clouds, the delicious smell of rain the air, and also the countless sparrows were twittering in the eaves are description which imply of the life that Mrs. Mallard was about to begin. As soon as she was about to begin her new life, she died. It’s also ironical that Louise lived with a man who she was not happy about but still stayed with him. She is described to have loved him only sometimes and often she did not love her. It is very funny that Mallard did not know that his wife did not love him. Throughout the time that they spend together Mallard must have been in a position to see some of the things that her wife did to her and at least sense that she did not love her. It is a worry that she could not realize this from her wife.
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Chopin has also used foreshadowing in this story. This device is used in the beginning of the story. From the way the story begins something bad was going to happen to this lady. Somewhere in the course of the story she was likely to die of heart disease. There are also other things throughout the story which makes us understand that something will go wrong but the writer tries to make us feel that everything is going to run smoothly .Chopin ends the story in a manner which leaves us with a lot of surprise.She did not take much of her time to give out the story neither did she use a lot of materials to convey the information. As the title of the story indicates this is the story of the last hour of Mrs. Mallard’s life. In the process of telling us about the last moments of her life, Chopin also gives us her life history until that point.(Boren and Davis 23)
The plot of the story makes the author to major on the thoughts of Mrs. Mallard. This is important in explaining the theme of the story which deals with her desire to have freedom. She wishes to fulfill her desires after her husband’s death. Louse is presented in the story as somebody who is likeable and sympathetic character. The way in which her sister breaks the news of her husbands death and the way she is portrayed to have problems with her heart makes the reader to sympathize with her. The author also uses narrative as a stylistic device. The way the story is told is a narrative. It’s a story of the life of Mallard and how she related with her husband. Death is used as a theme in this story. Mrs. Mallard dies at the end of the story. Her husband is shown to have been involved in an accident and he was in the list of the people who died even though he actually was not involved. The story is used to describe a woman and the way she reacts to news of her dead husband and her response when she realizes he is alive. She was unfaithful to her husband and therefore she deserved the death herself not the husband.
Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Catherine Golden. Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s the yellow wall-paper: a sourcebook and critical edition. London. Rutledge, 2004.
Lynda Sue Boren and Sara de Saussure Davis. Kate Chopin reconsidered: beyond the Bayou. New York LSU Press, 1999
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