Freedom in the Hour In Kate Chopin's, The Story of An Hour, there is much symbolism used. The whole story is full of symbolism as are many of Chopin's other stories. Louise Mallard had a totally different view on her husband, Brently's, death than did any other character in the story. The whole thing is one big irony. From the very beginning, there is foreshadowing that something is going to happen because the very first words about Louise Mallard are that it is known that she has a heart condition. This is symbolizing that she is bound to her current situation.
She is being oppressed by her husband, as many women of the time were. Although it appears that she loves Brently, she admits that some of the time she doesn't. This is not to say that he wasn't a good husband or she wasn't a good wife, but that they were not as in love as everyone else may have thought they were. It was for this reason that Richard's wanted to come break it to her himself so that she didn't have a major heart complication. This whole scenario takes place to show that something is going to happen in the story.
It doesn't at this point show any signs of freedom, but as we find out later in the story, the theme turns to freedom. (Chopin Lit. #19) As soon as Mrs. Mallard found out about the incident, she wanted to be alone in her room to grieve. Only, the longer she thought about it, the more she realized that this may be for the better.
As she realized what had really happened, she noticed symbols of beauty and freedom outside her window. The book talks about the trees and the sunshine. It also states that she took in breaths of the rain in the air. (Chopin Lit.
#20) This is all symbolism of her newly found freedom. She even started saying to herself that she felt free and unbound. She heard sparrows tweeting outside. She was no longer grieving, now she had figured out that this was the best thing for her. At this point, he sister Josephine insists that Louise let her into the room. Louise did not want to but eventually granted her passage.
As stated by Chopin, Josephine had a feverish triumph in her eyes. This was supposed to be a foreshadowing symbol of the events that were about to take place. For, at the moment they reached the bottom of the stairs, Brently Mallard walked in the front door knowing nothing about the accident. The book then gives no graphic details but just says that it was determined that she died of a heart attack.
The last words were that she died of the joy that kills. This symbolism meaning that she was so worked up and excited about having freedom that she couldn't stand to live without it after she had a small taste of it. These are just a few examples of the many types and styles of symbolism and irony that Kate Chopin used in the story. The whole thing revolved around a symbol of freedom and the belief that Louise Mallard couldn't live without it.
Chopin never actually says it, but Mrs. Mallard's soul probably went on to be free anyway. She may not have wanted to die, but it is assumed that she was going to a better place where she would, in essence, be free and have whatever she wanted. The whole story is a sort of plea from Kate Chopin to be free herself and have all of the things that Louise Mallard had or would have had. (Chopin Tape) Chopin, Kate.
The Story of an Hour. Book on Tape. Books in Motion. Ed. 1992 Chopin, Kate. "The Story of an Hour".
An Introduction to Literature. Ed. Sylvan Barnet et al. 11th ed.
New York: Longman, 1997.19-21.