Did joy kill her? Yesterday I read one of Kate Chopin!'s stories, ! ^0 The Story of An Hour.! +/- This story told us about a woman named Louise Mallard who had heart problems. One day Louise heard her husband was killed in a train accident.
She was sad at the beginning. After a short while, she begins to think about a new life. All the sadness and hopelessness turned to happiness and joy. She was full of joy. At this time her husband suddenly came back. Suddenly, she died.
All the people thought joy killed her. Do you think joy killed her? In this story the author uses many symbols such as a window, some stairs, and Louise!'s marriage to show the struggle some woman face in marriage and life. First, Louise has! ^0 a weak heart! +/- (32).
Notice this is very important, because the entire story was based on this and this symbolizes dependent. If she didn! t have a weak heart, the story cannot continue. Louise has heart problems, so that makes her dependent. She relies on her husband. She stays at home every day. Her husband supplies food and clothes for her, and controls her.
She has no freedom. This weak heart also paved the way to her death. Second, just like! ^0 a weak heart! +/- (32), the window is another symbol in this story. Do not just think that only it is a window.
Actually, the window means freedom and new life outside. In this story the author wrote, ! ^0 Outside her window she could see the trees. The air smelled like spring rain. She could hear someone singing far away. Birds sang near the house.
Blue sky showed between the clouds! +/- (32). What a beautiful picture! How terrific nature is! Through the window the idea of freedom came to her. Third, as well as the window, the stairs are another important symbol.
In the story, the author wrote, ! ^0 Just as suddenly, the tears stopped. She went to her room alone. She wanted no one with her! +/- (32). Here, the stairs means who gains self-consciousness and independence.
She wants to begin a new life, and separate from her old life. In her room, she looked out of the window. She can see the green trees and hear the birds singing. She totally forgets all the sadness. She is full of hope about her new life. According to the story, she thought all the rest of days would be her own.
She really wants life to be longer. She anticipates her new life. But after a short while, she goes downstairs. Here, going downstairs means death, because all her hopes, joy and happiness are destroyed. Since when she gets downstairs, her husband suddenly comes in.
She dies of disappointment. At last, like other symbols, marriage as another symbol plays a big role in this story. Look at the following sentences, ! ^0 She knew the tears would come again when she saw her husband!'s body.
The kind hands, now dead and still. The loving face, now still and gray. She would live for herself alone. There would be no strong mind above her! +/- (33). Based on these sentences, I think marriage, on one hand means security; on the other hand, it means a prison.
Why? A long time ago, a married woman was one who didn! t work. Her husband earned money to support the family. So does Louise. On the other hand, we all know one hundred years ago, a woman had low social status. This was also true in America.
She was totally under her husband!'s control. She had no rights in her family. In short, marriage not only symbolizes security but also symbolizes a prison. In conclusion, Kate Chopin used simple story to express her deep meaning. She used the pen as a weapon to write that women were treated unfairly, and point out that women have low social status in that time. Look back at all the symbols, I felt just like I was back in the early 19th century, and in the story.
Louise died; she died of disappointment, not joy. Actually, Louise was a victim in that time.
Chopin, K. (1993).! +/- Found in C.G. Draper!'s Great American Stories: One. Englechiffs, N J: Prentice Hall Regents, 30-35.