ISC the story of an hour : Louise’s Repression


The story of an hour : Louise’s 

Question :’The story of an hour ‘ does not trace Louise’s repression , but her reaction to her husband’s death says it all. Discuss.

Answer:  Repression happens when a person’s thoughts, feelings or desires are being understated or subdued. Women in the nineteenth century were often victims of repression . They were supposed to be demure, gentle and passive – which often went against women’s personal wills
           Kate Chopin is acknowledged for her feminist view in modern literature. Her stories often revolves around the daring women with unconventional thoughts.

         In “The Story of an Hour” Chopin portrays a woman – Louise Mallard who is confined in a repressive marriage. In the entire story , Chopin did not trace Louise’s repression directly, but her reaction to the news of her husband’s death disclosed it all. 

     The protagonist of the story Louise Mallard is known in the beginning of the story only as a wife, but as she learned of her husband’s, she became “Louise”, a woman aware of her own desires, enjoying the prospect of being free from the confines of marriage.

       Very little is known about Mr. and Mrs. Mallard’ s relationship. Even Louise is unsure whether or not they had been happily married: “And yet she had loved him sometimes. Often she had not. What did it matter!” 
The conventions of marriage overshadow the specifics of a husband wife relationship. This society’s concern was more important than the couple’s personal relationship.

    Marriage was a means of social control – that means marriage helped keep women in check and secure men’s social and political power.

      Marriage in Louise Mallard’s case has very little love. She sees her marriage as a life long bond in which she feels trapped , which reader see when she confesses that she loved her husband only “sometimes”. 

    When Mrs. Mallard got the news of her husband’s death , she cried dramatically rather than feeling numb, as she knew many other women would. Her violent reaction immediately shows that she was an emotional and demonstrative woman. 

         Chopin also described Louise as a young woman “with a fair , calm face, whose lines bespoke repression and even a certain strength.”  Not only her reaction but her expression, permanently fixed on her face, also shows her repression. 

      When she was alone in her room she felt that ” There was something coming to her and she was waiting for it , fearfully.” Her fear here shows lack of confidence that whether could she be able to hold the freedom for which she was longed.

     As she had recognized that thing approaching to possess her, “she was striving to beat it back with her will as powerless as her two slender hands would have been”. The prolong repression made her will so powerless that she could not even beat her thoughts back with her own will.

    When she abandoned herself a little whisper came out of her lips and ” she said it over and over under her breath – free, free, free !”

    Her repeatation of the word “free” indicates that it was freedom, that she always yearned for. 

      This sense of freedom and independence brought her new life and filled her with confidence and vitality. 
” Her pulse beat fast and the coursing blood warmed and relaxed every inch of her body.” 

       She started to imagine her future life without her husband, without any sorrow and regret. 

 The bitter moment of her husband’s death made her to see ” a long procession of years to come that would belong to her absolutely.” 

    She began to think that ” she would live for herself”. As till then she was living for her husband, according to his will. But now there would be no powerful will that will bend her will. She could take her own decisions.

      She confessed that she loved him “sometimes” but this “possession of self assertion” is much more valuable than her love for her husband or his love for her . She kept whispering hysterically “Free! Body and soul free!”

       In the story Mrs.Mallard was suffering from heart trouble, which indicates the extent of her oppression in her marriage . Here ” Heart – trouble”  suggests the trouble in physical and emotional state, a problem with in her body as well as in her relationship. 

     Within the hour – followed by the news of her husband’s death as Louise discovered her new identity and self assertion , her heart trouble also disappeared. 

     Ironically, as Brently Mallard  walked into her life again, her “heart trouble”  reappeared and this time it was so acute that it killed her. 

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