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SUMMARY and RESPONSE to "Story of an hour" by Kate Chopin


xutong 3 / 6  
Apr 3, 2016   #1
this is for an english class. the requirements are having good summary+good response+clear main point+clear analyses

Summary and Response

Louise Mallard is a fictional woman who craves for independence but was trapped in a society where it is not socially acceptable for her to be so. She behaves according to social expectations in front of others while she also keeps her inner thoughts alive. She has always known that deep in her heart, all she wants and needs is freedom.

The story is about Louise's emotional and physical response to her husband's death in the brief time span of about an hour. In the very beginning, the author lets us know that Louise has a "heart trouble". Easily it would let readers to believe it is a physical one-heart disease. But as the story goes on, we start to doubt if it's a psychological problem-whether she has been suppressed her individual will for years. The story begins by the process of letting Louise know that her husband has died. Then, the author described how Louise responded to her husband's death in front of other people. Her emotion in appearance changed immediately after she went back to her room. Having locked the door, Louis realized that she is finally free. Only at this time, her husband walked in the front door, leaving Louise shocked to death.

She is different than other women, at least in the fictional time period she lives in. "She did not hear the story as many women have heard the same, with a paralyzed inability to accept its significance"(Chopin, 1894, p.1). The author let us know that while she stayed relatively calm hearing the death of her husband, at the same time, "most women" would have been devastated. They would not have thought of anything besides the lost of a loved one or the loneliness they were about to go through, let alone thought of being free. She shed her tears one time, in the beginning, which makes me wonder if she had actually loved her husband at all. With the company of her husband's friend Richard and her sister, it seems only reasonable to cry a little, so she did. But soon after, she went into her room to make sure she has some time for herself and made sure no one followed her.

In her room, she sat down with a "physical exhaustion"-again, not the normal thing people would have felt. Would she be really sad, she would have not been able to breath, or feel really sad by her heart. But she didn't. The reason that she felt so physically exhausted was probably because of all the acting and pretending to care she has to show other people. Now she could see. She could finally notice all the beautiful things in the world, and all the free souls outside of this household-rain, peddlers, and sparrows.

"There would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature." (Chopin, 1894, p.2).

Louise has a strong understanding of the relationship between female and male. She loved her husband sometimes but she knows that as long as he was there, she had no absolute sense of freedom. And when he had died, she finally found her own individualism. She finally was free. "Free! Body and soul free!" (Chopin, 1894, p.2). she kept saying, kept reminding herself that her own freedom was so much more important than the love she only gets sometimes from Mr. Mallard, than the sense of possession she always felt Mr. Mallard has on her. Now she is absolutely free of her own will. "Free, free, free!" (Chopin, 1894, p.2). She said it over and over again to herself.

But when she finally "opened and spread her arms out" (Chopin, 1894, p.2). for the new life she had in front of her, she realized that her husband was not dead. In fact, he just walked into the front door. She died of not the joy that her husband's being alive brought her, but I fear the fact that the live she's been dreaming to have was not possible anymore. In fact, the moment when she husband just walked in through the door, the self she just discovered she had has already died. There was no information gave as in the background of Louise nor how her relationship really was with her husband. But we can guess from the context that in the society Louise lives in, it is probably unacceptable for her to be free. Which is also why she pretended to be sad while her husband's friend was there and secretly relieved when she was by herself.

From the whole story, Louis says over and over again that she wants to be free. She sees all the free creatures while having to pretend to obey the social standard to mourn her husband's death. She was born to be free, but not at the right time.

behieli 7 / 19 4  
Apr 4, 2016   #2
Dear Xutong
First of all, you told the story in understanding way but, maybe you could shorten it more.

Also some suggestions :

But as the story goes on, we start to doubt if it's a psychological ... . But as the story goes on, we start to doubt if it's a psychological problem or the result of all that suppressed feelings she has kept for years.

The reason that she felt so physically exhausted was probably ... .... the reason of all her physical exhaustion probably was her pretending (or make-believe) behavior.

the lost of a loved one...the loss of loved one

She died of not the joy that her husband's being alive brought her ,....she didn't die of the joy of finding her husband alive but knowing that......

In fact, the moment when she husband just walked in through the door... . ...In fact, the moment her husband walked in through the door, the new self she had discovered, died.

There was no information gave as in the .....no information was given in the story about her past, about the real nature of their relationship.


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