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robinporter985

robinporter985   , 32

from San Francisco

Statistics

The Story of an Hour

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Ayodeji Ilesanmi
Ms. Pape
English 1302.626
February 23, 2012
Part One: Alternate ending to “The Story of an Hour”
“Someone was opening the front door with a latchkey, it was Brently Mallard who entered, a little travel stained, composedly carrying his grip-sack and umbrella. He had been far from the scene of the accident, and did not even know there had been one. He stood amazed at Josephine's piercing cry; at Richards' quick motion to screen him from the view of his wife” (Chopin, 16). Josephine rushed to the door looked at Mr. Mallard with great amazement, “Am I dreaming or in trance?” She asked, she walked around Brently in an anticlockwise manner, Brently Mallard was losing his patience, he yelled ‘’can someone tell me what’s going on here?” Richard spoke as he ascends the stairs “we got some news that you were dead in the accident and that….Brently cuts in “what accident?” The surprise in his face was indescribable, “did you tell my wife? He asked. Richard and Josephine looked at each other, both opened their mouth, no voice was heard. Brently Mallard screamed as he navigates the spiral stairway downstairs “I’m alive! I’m alive!!” Ms. Mallard heard her husband’s voice, she jumped out of herself almost with her last breath, they hugged each other intimately but she was very tired. He helped her to bed, she was frail and exhausted. He said over and over again “I’m alive!! I’m alive!!” Mr. Mallard ran back and forth to get some water and her medications. He also got her some fruits and made her dinner that night, but she only had a bite. He pampered her like of those days when had just met each other; he massaged her feet, gave her warm bath and put her in bed. At about midnight, the wind blew softly as the petals of rose dropped down, dry leaves from off the tree, Ms. Mallard groaned out softly – she had breathe her last, he turned on the light and before he could say a word she was gone……an inevitable quiet end. Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” was written in last decade of the nineteenth century. Thematically, she writes of the oppression and repression of women of such era where they were expected to keep the home, cook, bear and rear children. Chopin describes the patriarchal society of the nineteenth century that defines gender roles which controls and delimits women’s experiences devoid of self-actualization and identity; women were secondary in the society, invisible counterparts to their husband with no desires, no voice, and no identity. Their role as a wife was more emphasized than the individuality. Ultimately, the story tells of Mrs. Mallard’s journey away from her marriage entrapment to her own pursuit of freedom and happiness. Personally, I’d like to suggest that Chopin’s story was motivated by finding an identity for women in the so-called men’s world. Chopin foreshadows Mrs. Mallard’s awakening in her resistance of the traditional roles of women in marriage and the society, she suggests that if she was going to create a self, she will need to define her identity outside of the roles and codes enforced by the society where she lives in. The opening sentence of the story also foreshadows the ending or at least hints that Mrs. Mallard’s heart condition will affect the outcome of the story. Moreover, this sentence also makes the ending believable. Without an early reference to her heart ailment, the ending would seem implausible and contrived.

Part two: Reader’s response
Chopin attempts to tackle complex issues involved in the interplay of female independence, love and marriage through her brief but effective characterization of the supposedly widowed Louise Mallard. Louise who is the protagonist suffers heart trouble, which in this context is indicative of the extent which she feels her marriage has oppressed her. The label Chopin gave to Louise Mallard’s problem “heart trouble” is both physiological and psychological. When Louise spreads her arms open, she symbolically was welcoming her new life, “Body and soul free!! She repeats herself; this shows her newly gained independence. Louise Mallard faces conflicting emotions of grief and freedom after discovering that her husband had died in an accident, this story creates a climatic twist as she had thought she was free, then the revelation that Brently did not die after all. Chopin concludes the original story attributing Ms. Mallard’s death to a preexisting heart condition which she later called “the joy that kills” (16). Chopin portrays an extreme disappointment at Brently’s return, and having to lose the her supposedly regained freedom, I could not connect with such ending, because even in the face of issues and turmoil in marital relationships, spouses usually would not want to lose their partners to death or any accident. I chose to end the story in alternatively in such a way that this couple would have an opportunity to reconnect, in the original story, very little was said about Mr. Mallard which leaves reader’s with the impression that he was a uncaring, dominant and domineering husband who didn’t care as much. Even if that assumption was true based on the societal norm and culture in the nineteenth century, I’d like to show a caring part of this man as so many men would react seeing that they were losing a wife and companion to death. The author portrays a sad portrait of marriage, well Louise Mallard seems to had been struggling with her relationship but in my alternate conclusion I tried to show some other side of Mr. Mallard that was not very well portrayed by Chopin. The end of Chopin’s story was too gloomy for me. Her story presents Mrs. Mallard as been very disappointed to find out her husband was still alive, I could not connect with that, women are very passionate and resilient beings, women have a lot of faith even in the face of adversity; and that was why I attempt to present a different view from the author’s to have this couple reconnect again even as Mrs. Mallard passes on. Men on the other hand are not heartless people, they do really care even when it seems they too emotional about it. Chopin did an effective job telling a story of passion about marriage in the nineteenth century, I try to relate such experience with what marriage look or seem to be in our modern age, I am very sure there are still some cultures where women are repressed in marriage and in the society at large, where their emotions and individuality are denied, but on a general note women have assumed a more honorable position in the society. Women occupy very important positions almost in every sphere of the human society all over the world.