The relationship between man and women has always evoked interest and received attention in numerous literary works. The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin is an emotional piece full of metaphors that I find thought-provoking. First Published in 1894, it dwells on questions of psychological stability and suppressed realization of missed opportunities being born in the mind of a young woman. In this essay, I want to consider links between an emotional state of a person and the perception of freedom and equality in a relationship between people.
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The story unfolds in just one hour when Louise Mallard finds out that her husband has died in a terrible railroad accident. Louse reacts with painful grief that unexpectedly brings her a powerful insight and hope. However, her hopes are shattered once her husband Brently returns home safely. Struck by his sudden return, Louise gets a heart attack and dies “of joy that kills” (Chopin 79). I believe it is worth following the emotional rebirth of the main heroine through the text to understand how issues of freedom and equality are interpreted.
Even though the story was published at the end of the nineteenth century, it remains topical as Louise’s emotions evolve. After receiving news, she is immediately overflown with emotions, and her mind is blank, and yet, “she did not hear the story as many women have heard the same” (Chopin 76). It means that the storm of emotions revealed her deep thoughts that were locked in the conventional patriarchal framework. Slowly, she further engages in the analysis of the situation she has faced.
It is clear that she is afraid of her new feelings and is terrified by this “something coming to her” (Chopin 77), which in my opinion, is a taste of freedom and the anticipation of escape from social norms. Besides, the author directly suggests that Louise becomes aware of her own will, even though she loses control and whispers, “free, free, free!” (Chopin 78). Suddenly the world around finds a response in her soul and body, creating the new vision of life. That is why the unexpected return of Brently hits her reborn soul at the peak of emotions and kills her.
This cycle of emotions experienced by Louise is highlighted by the language used in the story. First of all, there are plenty of metaphors associated with every emotional stage. For example, when the pain and grief are gone, Louise notices how the natural world around her changes as “there were patches of blue sky showing here and there through the clouds” (Chopin 77). The metaphor of a blue sky is a sign of a new beginning and a fresh start.
In addition, the author compares the heroine to a goddess of Victory when Louise steps out of the room. While she is descending the stairs, it can be anticipated that her hopes are about to be broken. Throughout this hour, she lives a whole new life where she is not bound by someone else’s will and power, where her life belongs solely to her.
The Story of an Hour demonstrates how emotions help us understand the actual state of the relationship we are in, be it marriage or just friendship. I am convinced that in modern days many people tend to rely on their rational thinking and disregard what their emotions are trying to tell them. The suppression of emotions puts a person in a framework making it impossible to express his or her own will. Undoubtedly, women enjoy more rights and freedom these days, but conventional thinking does not liberate them from living the role of a victim. Therefore, every relationship requires constant attention to the emotional state of everyone involved in it.
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Chopin, Kate. A Vocation and A Voice. Penguin Books, 1991.