Birds Die Too
In Kate Chopins “Story of the Hour”, several elements contribute to the overall meaning of the story itself.
Her death is foreshadowed in the beginning when it mentions that she was “afflicted with heart trouble”. Because of this, when her sister told her that her husband had died, it was done so delicately. After Mrs. Mallard is told, is where the story really begins to set a tone of elegiac settings, and how she is expressing herself is in direct contrast to weather, i.e. ‘the storm of grief”. When Mrs. Mallard goes to her room and sits down to rest, she begins to notice how lovely the weather is outside, and here the tone takes a sudden change from elegiac to ...view middle of the document...
The birds are happy, singing, and carefree of any limitations. Also the door when her sister, Louise, begs her to open the door. She is also symbolically opening the door to her new life, the one she will live in total liberation with the restraints of her husband. She begins to also look at life with new eyes, seeing it in a different light, no longer seeing as a life of repression. She loved him, but not as much as she suddenly loves herself.
This is a reaction that should be expected from her, however, it is not widely popular (due to when this story was written). She had been married expecting to live her life playing the perfect little wife, and had actually almost managed to convince herself that she enjoyed it. However, when she realizes her freedom, she is ecstatic, as any sane person would be. And even though her husband was obviously a good, kind man whom she “never looked upon with anything but love” she was still not living for herself, and no one can be truly happy if they aren’t happy with themselves first.
Ironically, once she begins to descend from the stairs like a “goddess of Victory” who is now not only ready to stand to any trials life throws at her-but is also excited to do so, someone turns the keylatch. A visitor coming to console her of her husbands death? No, it is her husband herself. She then has a heart attack and is proclaimed dead of “the joy that kills,” in other words; she was so overcome with joy at seeing her husband alive, that she died. Obviously in reality it was quite the contrary. She was overcome with the sudden reality of oppression that did in fact await her in the years to come, that she did not escape. After all, birds die too.