Everyone wants to be happy. Everyone has the right to be happy. But not everyone can experience hapiness in his or her lifetime. It is interesting to note that in Kate Chopin’s The Story of an Hour, Mrs. Mallard wanted to be happy and free at the same time. The story would show that she had a hard time getting both. It is already a tough challenge to be happy in this world but adding the problem of freedom is something that a human being should go through. In the said short story the author was able to show that there was a time in America when women struggled to have both. Mrs. Mallard wanted to be happy and free and when her husband died her prayers were answered although she felt guilt that she is feeling that way.
The setting of the story is before the 20th century. The reader can make a guess based on the fact that Kate Chopin wrote the short story in the late part of the 19th century. This will help explain why Mrs. Mallard felt that way. She was like a prisoner in her own house. And by reading between the lines one can say that she was unhappy in her marriage. Therefore, she was also unhappy in her life. There can be many reasons why she was unhappy. The first thing that the reader will think of is the question whether Mr. and Mrs. Mallard were able to conceive, to have sons and daughters.
The house seems to be big and yet no one can notice any evidence that there were children. This is one possible reason. The second reason why Mrs. Mallard was unhappy can be attributed to her husband’s inability to make her happy. There is not enough information to make any conclusion why her husband could not make her happy. But this is what Mrs. Mallard expressed during the time when she was left alone in her room. This does not mean that she does not love her. This is because she cried like a baby upon knowing that her husband had died from a terrible accident.
The reader can also say that Mrs. Mallard was not happy because she was not free. One can also imagine that Mr. Mallard was a very strict man and he probably did not allow his wife to go out of the house without his permission or without a chaperon. This will also tell the reader that Mrs. Mallard could have been a unique woman in a time when women are supposed to blindly follow what their husband would say to them. Mrs. Mallard longed to be free and all her feelings were on display when she was by the open window thinking about the consequences of her husband’s death.
So when she was all alone, without the domineering presence of her husband she was able to feel the whole world come alive. It was as if, it was her first time to realize that the sky was blue, or maybe she thought that the sky is bluer than yesterday. She began to pray that life might be long. This is because she is enjoying the air, the clouds, the birds and even the location of her house. She is feeling life again that it is vibrant and full of good promises. She does not want it to end.
But before she felt all of these she had to push back the feeling of guilt. She does not want to feel happy and free because her husband had just died. She was supposed to be a grieving widow. She is supposed to wear a black dress and her face must be sad, very sad. She must cry and cry because her loving husband is gone and never to return. Yet she felt different. She tried to push it back but she could not help herself. She wa happy that her husband is dead, now she could experience what she really wanted all her life which is happiness and freedom.
The desire for happiness and freedom was stronger than the need to obey social norms. The need for happiness and freedom cannot be hidden, it will go up to the surface like an oil when mixed with water. Mrs. Mallard tried to fight the feeling to celebrate because her new found freedom gave her great joy. She tried to hide it and yet she could not stop herself from enjoying and even saying that she is now free after so many years of unhappy marriage. Unfortunately for Mrs. Mallard her husband was not dead. So when she was very emotional and very happy because of her freedom she suddenly came face to face with a very much alive Mr. Mallard. Her heart could not take it and she died on the spot but she was able to finally get what she really wanted and it is to be free forever.