1. Referring closely to the short story " The Story of an Hour", state Mrs. Mallard's feelings on hearing the news about her husband's death.
Ans: "The Story of an Hour' focuses on the idea that a person may experience drastic changes in a short span of time. Owing to Mrs Mallard's heart trouble, everyone treats her carefully. When her husband's friend Richards discovers that her husband Mr Mallard got killed in an accident, he shares the news with her sister Josephine. Both of them take time to gently tell Mrs Mallard that her husband has died. Mrs. Mallard weeps bitterly with wild abandonment in Josephine's arms. Then she goes to her room to be by herself and locks the room. Inside the room, alone, she feels frightened of some knowledge that is coming to her. Suddenly Mrs Mallard realizes that something is approaching her. She waits fearfully for this unknown feeling or knowledge. It seems to be too subtle and elusive. She breathes heavily and tries to resist before succumbing to this new knowledge, i.e. a feeling of freedom. She thinks to herself how she will cry when she sees the dead body of her husband. She is kind of excited about the chance to make her own decisions and not feel accountable to anyone She feels even more swept by the idea of freedom than the fact that she had sometimes felt love for her husband. She focuses on how liberated she feels. While Mrs Mallard is experiencing this changed state of mind, her sister tries to keep a check on her. Finally Mrs Mallard comes out of her room, newly resolved. She and Josephine start to go downstairs. Suddenly the very 'not-dead' Mr Mallard comes in. When Mrs Mallard sees him, she has a tremendous shock and dies.
2. What according to you led to Mrs. Mallard's death? Give reasons to support your answer.
Ans: In The Story of an Hour, we find that Mrs Mallard was a heart patient. When the news of her husband's death reached his friend Richards and her sister Josephine, every care was taken to break to her the sad news as gently as possible. She wept at once, with wild abandon, in her sister's room. Then she went to her room to spend some moments in isolation. She stopped anyone coming to her room. She saw a scene of freshness and freedom outside her window. She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life. She sat with her head thrown back upon the cushion of the chair. She sobbed lightly. Then something lightly came to her. She was waiting for it, fearfully. She dreaded the new feeling that had begun to possess her. But she could not resist it. It was the revelation to her that she was now free. Her body and mind were both free. She had a vision of bright future. She told to herself that she would live for herself : "...she saw beyond that bitter moment a long procession of years to come that would belong to her absolutely." It seems that she was unhappy about her death inwardly, though she knew she would weep again on seeing her husband's dead face "that had never looked save with love upon her..." When the dead' husband suddenly appears, she died a sudden death of "joy" in the words of the doctors. But what about her vision of freedom. She died on seeing the death of her dream on the face of her husband who was still alive. So her loss of freedom and broken dreams were the reasons that led to Mrs. Mallard's death.
3. Do you think that the short story by Kate Chopin "The Story of an married life. Her husband seems to be a repressive. The freedom for her was clearly a matter of celebration. She celebrates his Hour" is symbolic of modern feminism? Give reasons to support your answer.
Ans. In most of our feminist writings there is a direct and loud assault on, or at least a protest against, the patriarchal system in which women are deliberately subordinated to men. In such works the woman often emerges to be a rebel against her exploitation, harassment and suppression in order to seek freedom, equality and individuality. Kate Chopin, the author of "The Story of an Hour', is not a feminist writer as she wrote in a a period when feminism was not even heard of. But her works show that she was concerned about women's plight in the existing social set-up which was essentially male dominated. "The Story of an Hour' gives enough clues to the fact that Mrs Mallard is a victim of the prevalent social norms and values. She feels oppressed, stifled and miserable about her married life. That is why, when the news of the death of her husband comes, her first reaction is shedding tears in wild abandonment in her sister's arms. She goes back to her room where she experiences something she has never imagined. It is the sensation of being free from the clutches of her husband. The view outside her window seen by her is suggestive of freshness and freedom : The delicious breath of rain was in the air. In the street below a peddler was crying his wares. The notes of a distant song which someone was singing reached her faintly, and countless sparrows were twittering in the eaves. Then she thinks of her future life. She exults, though somewhat badly, thinking: "Free body and soul free". She gets excited about her new life without her husband. She breathes a quick prayer that life may be long. Only yesterday she had thought with a shudder that life might be long. She knows that she will weep on seeing her husband's dead face -"the face that had never looked save with love upon her". She feels that she loved him- 'sometimes', The new life, without him, would be such in which she would live only for herself. This type of vision clearly shows that she has been unhappy about her married life. Her vision of free life without an oppressing husband, when suddenly gets smashed with the sudden appearance of her 'dead' husband, causes her instant death. The doctors call it a death caused by excessive and sudden joy that shocked her weak heart. Thus, the story reveals the true feelings of a married woman on the supposed death of a husband. There is some feminist touch in the whole situation.
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