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Essay on "The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin - Feedback

pjamie_7917 1 / -  
Jan 10, 2012   #1
To whom it may concern,
This is my first essay of the semester and I want someone to revise it and give me feedback on what I can do to improve on this essay. It is crucial! Thank you so much I have listed the instructions below.

Instructions: Draft a 3-5 page MLA format essay that answers the following question:

In Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour," does Louise "die of joy" as her doctor suggests or do you have a different interpretation? Is Louise a wicked woman? Grieving widow? What inferences can you make about her character and the status of women in general in the time period in which Louise lived? Support your answers based on your inferences with specific quotes.

You are in charge of constructing the basic premises of your essay based on inferences, facts, and judgments you make.
Your essay should follow standard essay format in that you will need an intro, supporting body paragraphs with strong topic sentences that make specific claims based on inferences, and a conclusion.

Intro that begins with an interesting hook or attention-getter. Introduce story title and author somewhere in intro, briefly summarize plot, end intro with a clearly stated thesis.

*The Professor mentioned today in class that the questions that she listed didn't have to be answer in every single paragraph, she put them so they could help of think more on what to write about.

Every human being takes a different approach when enduring the loss of a loved one. Whether it is bursting into tears or screaming up at the sky. For Louise Mallard it is a rare reaction when she is informed that her husband has been allegedly killed in a train accident. Richards, Mr. Mallard's close acquaintance, "Know that Mrs. Mallards [is] afflicted by a heart trouble" and took great care "to break to her as gently as possible the news of her husband's death (Chopin ś 1)." She locks herself in her room, in despair, alone. Sitting in a comfortable chair, she begins to ponder about how life will be for her now that her husband has passed on. That sorrow that she feels at the beginning slowly turns into a joy that will later on account for her own downfall. In Kate Chopin's famous short story, "The Story of an Hour", we have Mrs. Mallard undergo a train wreck of emotions. It is imagination, joy and shock that ultimately lead to her ironic death.

To begin with, it is Mrs. Mallard's ability to be imaginative that result in her death. Louise Mallard suffers from heart trouble and when she is led to believe of her husband's demise, "She did not hear the story as many women have heard the same, with a paralyzed inability to accept its significance (Chopin ś 3)." Her reaction is unique; she bawls once and locks herself in her room to let her imagination run wild. What will her life become of now that Mr. Mallard is gone? What will she do without him? Could she move one from this loss? All questions that a typical widow would ask herself, but "There was something coming to her and she was waiting for it fearfully...creeping out of the sky, reaching toward her through the sounds, scents, the color that filled the air (Chopin ś 9)." During this time period women are oppressed by society and do not have as many rights as men do, unless she's a widow. Mrs. Mallard is initially devastated, but as her thoughts progress she begins to like her future without a husband. Her imagination takes her to an ideal world filled with endless possibilities for a widowed woman. Pleased with this notion she repeats, "free, free, free (Chopin ś 11)!" Free from marriage, free from a husband, free from commitment, she loves the idea of being single, like the perfect deal with no strings attached. Mrs. Mallard embraces the feeling of emancipation and welcomes it with open arms.

Next, Louise's imagination brings her tremendous joy contributing to her death. When a wife loses her husband, especially in a devastating train accident, she typically tends to be in a state of depression; however Mrs. Mallard's reaction makes a 360 degree spin. She is happy for what has happened "She ...begin to recognize this thing that was approaching to possess her, and she [is] striving to beat it back with her will-as powerless as her two white slender hands would have been (Chopin ś 10)." Even when she is informed about her husband's death she does not ask Josephine and Richard if they are sure that it is Mr. Mallard who died in the accident, she immediately acknowledges it. Most women remain in denial, but Mrs. Mallard is not like most women. She is not hesitant to show feelings of delight; "she [sees] beyond the bitter moment a long procession of years to come that would belong to her absolutely. And she open and spread her arms out to them in welcome (Chopin ś 13)." She would finally live for herself, do the things that she had longed to do and be able to them all. It is safe to say that she does not see this as a misfortune but as an opportunity, as if she were given another chance and she would take full advantage of it. Like seeing the glass half full instead of half empty, she is optimistic for the calamity.

At last, shock is what puts an end to Mrs. Mallard. When one is in their own perfect world, like Mrs. Mallard, they don't want anyone to ruin it. Josephine is in desperation and begs Louise to open the door because she is afraid that she might unintentionally hurt herself. Yet Louise Mallard is far from making herself ill; "she was drinking in a very elixir of life... (Chopin ś 17)." At this point Mrs. Mallard has intoxicated herself with beliefs of independence and is grasping on to that idea. She does not want to lose it by any means necessary; "Her fancy [is] running riot along those days ahead of her. Spring days, and summer days, and all sorts of days that would be her own... It was only yesterday that she had thought that life would be long (Chopin ś 18)." When Louise Mallard thought she was a lost cause this chance is given to her and she strongly believes that all her problems would be solved. She could nearly taste that freedom but fate came knocking at her door; "It was Brently Mallard... He had been far from the scene of the accident, and did not even know there had been one (Chopin ś 20)." In all her life Louise Mallard had been so close to being finally free and as it turned out Brently Mallard had not died. She had only gotten a glimpse of freedom and a spoonful of reality. That day Louise Mallard died; according to her doctors it was due to heart disease, but in reality it was of disillusionment.

What was the real cause of Louise Mallard's death and how did Brently Mallard survive that tragic accident? Ultimately, it is imagination, joy and shock that pulled the trigger to Mrs. Mallard's demise. Louise Mallard thought of every single possibility for being cheery for the loss of husband; "Free! Body and soul free (Chopin ś 15)!" She was there, she could almost touch it. Louise Mallard had been so close and yet so far away and instead died of a painful joy.

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