The Joy That Kills

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Brandie Torres
ENC 1102
11 September 2013
The Joy that Kills
Kate Chopin’s short story “The Story of an Hour” is a story about a woman, Mrs. Louise Mallard, who has just learned the news that her husband has died in a tragic train wreck. The most significant line of the story is the very last line that hints at the theme of the story as well as the overall irony of it. Kate Chopin’s story talks about approximately “an hour” of time where Louise learns that her husband has died to the time she sees him walking through their front door alive after all. Louise has significant heart troubles so when her sister tells her of the news, she attempts to take extreme caution in doing so as to protect her health. At first when hearing the news she weeps once in front of her sister, Josephine, then retreats to her room for some alone time. She notices all the living things that reside outside her window. All of a sudden she gets excited at the thought of her husband being dead and blurts out how free she is, “Free! Body and soul free!” Her sister instantly worries when she is shouting in the room, asking her to get out of the room concerning for health once again. Louise walks down the stairs to someone opening the front door of the house, it turns out to be her husband who is perfectly fine. Her sister cries out, his best friend named Richards tries to block him from her view, and Louise Mallard ends up dying. We as readers are left with an ambiguous quote, “When the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease--of the joy that kills.” A large part of the story that makes it such a big deal is the time period it deals with and the situation that takes place in that time period. This was written in the early 1900s in a time when women’s rights were not as prominent as they are today. Kate Chopin was known as a feminist author and portrayed that in many of her writings. This story showed how women in that time dealt with their marriages, Louise is shown...
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