Prisoner Within A House
“The Story of an Hour” was written by Kate Chopin in 1894. In this story Mrs. Mallard is told delicately by her sister, because of a heart condition, that her husband, Mr. Mallard, has been killed in a train accident. Josephine, Mrs. Mallard’s sister, is worried about her after she locks herself in her room. Mrs. Mallard, though grieving, realizes she is now free from a marriage in which she isn’t truly happy. Although she is mourning the death of her husband, she is secretly overjoyed. After Mrs. Mallard comes to the understanding she is now free to live a happy life, she comes downstairs with Josephine only to see Mr. Mallard come through the door unharmed by the train accident. Mrs. Mallard drops dead and the doctors pronounce her dead from the joy and excitement that her husband is still alive. Throughout “The Story of an Hour”, Chopin uses the symbols of a troubled heart, an open window, and the setting of the house to represent the repression due to the loss of personal freedom that Mrs. Mallard experiences in her life as a married woman in the nineteenth century.
In Western culture and art hearts are frequently used to symbolize love. The symbol
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