Conflict Between Exterior and Interior Life With Characters in 3 Short Stories Research Paper

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Conflict Between Exterior and Interior Life

Kate Chopin's "The story of an Hour" offers a story behind a story. First it can be noted that this talks about Mr. And Mrs. Mallard. Mrs. Mallard received a news that her husband has just died. This prompted for a roller coaster of emotions to build inside her heart and mind.

First, she felt sadness. She was saddened by the fact that she is now alone and that her husband will no longer be with her. But the feeling of sadness did not stay for long in Mrs. Mallard's heart because she suddenly realized that she is now free. The death of her husband would mean that nobody will hurt her anymore. Because her husband is dead, nobody will discriminate her anymore. Nobody will make her feel that she is just a low or second class citizen. Nobody will prevent her from doing what she wants and having what she likes. Needless to say, the death of her husband is synonymous to the idea that she has gained her freedom, hence she felt extreme excitement and happiness.

There would be no one to live for during those coming years; she would live for herself. There would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they ahve a right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature. A kind intention or a cruel intention made the act seem no less a crime as she looked upon it in that brief moment of illumination.

And yet she had loved him -- sometimes. Often she had not. What did it matter! What could love, the unsolved mystery, count for in the face of this possession of self-assertion which she suddenly recognized as the strongest impulse of her being!

Free! Body
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and soul free!" she kept whispering" (Chopin, 1969)

This was not the end of the changing of emotions in Mrs. Mallard's case, because several minutes after she felt the happiness, Mr. Mallard entered the door. Naturally, Mrs. Mallard was shocked. She did not know what to feel by this time. Will she be happy knowing that her husband - the person whom she has lived for several years - is alive? Or would she feel distraught knowing that she has not yet gained her freedom after all?

What happens next was a bit of a shock for the expectators. Mrs. Mallard collapsed with her face showing signs of happiness. Mrs. Mallard did not stand anymore for that collapsed turned into her eventual death. The people who witnessed what had just happened thought that Mrs. Mallard died of happiness because her husband is found alive. Yes, it was true, she died because of happiness, not because her husband is alive after all, but because of the realization that death will provide her freedom.

When she abandoned herself] a little whispered word escaped her slightly parted lips. She said it over and over under her breath: "Free, free, free!" The vacant stare and the look of terror that had followed it went from her eyes. They stayed keen and bright. Her pulses beat fast, and the coursing blood warmed and relaxed every inch of her body." (Chopin, 1969)

This is the one of the best example of a big difference to what is perceived as the interior from what is seen in the exterior. Mrs. Mallard's physical reaction is perceived differently to what she was really feeling inside.

The much-anthologized "The Story of an Hour" is surely Kate Chopin's best-known piece of short fiction. Innumerable students, ranging from the very naive to the very sophisticated, must have grappled with the story in discussions and essays. As all readers should agree, Louise Mallard receives…

Sources Used in Documents:


Chopin, Kate. The Complete Works of Kate Chopin. Ed. Per Seyersted. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State UP, 1969.

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