What is marriage a union of two people who are held together legally, socially, and ritually? Everyone recognizes that they are legally bonded together until death due them part. Marriage is normally required to be assigned to a man and a woman who are free from a joint agreement to anyone else. The two people mutually agree to share their lives, bodies, and experiences. They share family values, traditions, and have children also. Then there is freedom both partners in a marriage are not involved or devoted to anyone else.
Freedom is defined as the ability or power to talk, react, perform, or think without penalty. Each person has to be free to enter into the agreement of marriage. Marriage and freedom are a connected union which requires discipline and compromise. Freedom is the fact of how we choose to think and the reaction or actions of those thoughts and how they are played out in daily living. Which brings me to using marriage and freedom as topics for “The Story of An Hour” by Kate Chopin. How is marriage different from the 19th century to the 21st century? The major difference is that women work outside of the home.
In the 19th century of the story the husband is the major breadwinner and the wife is obedient a stays at home to care for her husband’s every need. A woman’s role was that of the homemaker designed to care for husband and family. In today’s society husbands and wives both work outside of the home, there are child care services for the children, more single parent households and man can be a stay at home dad and a woman be the major bread winner. Did Louise Mallard loose herself in the marriage? What happened to her sense of freedom once married?
After the news of Brently’s death she gently spoke “free, free, free! ” (P1) What is Louise free from? We all have dreams that we want to reach. But most often wives dreams are placed on hold to care for family needs and let the husbands dreams flourish. Freedom “there will be no one to live for during those coming years; she would live for herself” (P2). This statement relates a feeling of sadness in Brentley’s death, but happiness that Louise will now be able to experience her last years alive with independence. Louise struggled with being treated less than who she was.
There were so many ways people treated her like she was not valuable, treated like a patient, and lastly treated how a child would be treated. She seemed to always question what her worth was. Medically Louise had a heart condition which she would need to be looked after. But this did not give everyone the right to assume she was weak and frail. Her sister Josephine struggled with telling her the news of Brently’s death. When Brently is declared deceased in the story Josephine wants to break the news in stages because she was afraid Louise would have trouble handling the death.
Why the struggle not because of the sadness in which death is an emotional event. However that is for everyone Josephine stated Louise condition took delay to giving the news. Compassion is always needed, it seems once the news of death was given the entire family embarked on Josephine becoming a baby sitter. After she was told th everyone wanted to watch her all the time. Seems everyone had a sense of confusion by Louise’s reactions. Louise first cried upon finding out the death of Brently’s than she laughed. Crying is a normal emotion you feel after losing someone but the laughing was her own experience of grief.
Louise than asked to be left alone but Josephine refused. Josephine feared that Louise’s grief would consume her. Louise asked to be left alone which Josephine finally agreed. The door was locked after Josephine left the room and then Josephine feared that that was not a good decision because access to Louise was halted and fear of bodily harm consumed Josephine. Louise felt joy in being left alone she exclaimed “Free! Body and soul feel in a continuance whisper” (P2). Joy overcame Louise a bittersweet moment she envisioned life after death of Brently. A long procession of years to come that would belong to her absolutely” (P2).
In reflection Louise’s understanding was happiness. However happiness came at a cost of loneliness. Being alone hit Louise like a ton of breaks. Confusion set in Louise hit a wall of reality. How will I make it, what will happen in the future , when will I feel okay to be alone, and where do I go from here? All these questions summed up in “she knew she would weep again, when she saw those hands folded a death understanding that she did love her husband but she had lost herself” (P2). “Loving and taking care of Brently had overwhelmed her.
So Louise in this one hour went from several emotional points in life, marriage, death, compassion, confusion, loneliness and ultimately freedom. Louise’s character had a purpose and was central to the story. A woman of substance who struggled with her internal and external self. Feeling a sense of peace in death versus a sense of lost. Louise took a relief in Brently’s death. It seems that yes she had a heart ailment but her medical condition was fueled by her relationship with her husband. Louise had settled in life, seems she did what everyone expected her to do in the age of the 19th century.
Marriage and duty as a wife she could not follow her dreams. Throughout the story we see Louise struggling with self-esteem concerns. She is oppressed in her marriage. In the hour of the story Louise realizes life is a many different things. She takes Brently’s death as a release emotionally, physically, and mentally. Seems Louise’s heart trouble is conditional to her relationship with Brentley and the marriage. I know from reading the story there is a hint of relief in his death. Louise only wants to be free of Brently and a bad marriage.
There is never stated that Louise has no feelings or love for Brently only that the choice made is not fulfilling to her. In the marriage each person has to have a give and take relationship. Louise’s reflections seems to state she has given more and no longer wants to take feeling separate in the marriage. The relationship is over and Brently’s dying restores who she feels she really is allows her to think of his death as a light to a new beginning. Louise viewed death as freedom. In the hour Louise ponders her entire existence which lead her heart in over drive with emotions.
As the story unfolds Louise begins to embrace her life without Brentley. She becomes elated and embraces all that goes with being a widow. Then Brently walks in the room to show he is alive and well and Louise falls dead to so call heart trouble. Heart trouble, heart attack yes Louise died in the end. The mere thoughts of life resuming and Brently being alive was not happy for Louise it seems. She was not shocked because he was not dead but shocked and unhappy that her life and freedom was now taken away from her again! I my opinion Louise died of a broken heart she no longer wanted to live in disappointment and not being free.