“The Story of an Hour”
· Society interprets situations differently from the individual’s reality.
· Women sometimes found themselves in unhappy relationships—marriage was expected.
· Society supported this lifestyle.
· Consequently many women felt trapped and insignificant in their daily lives.
· Notable quotations:
“Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with a heart trouble, great care was taken to break to her the news of her husband’s death” (45). [railroad disaster—Brentley Mallard’s name led the list of victims.]
“She did not hear the [news] as many women have heard the same….She was young, with a fair, calm face, whose lines bespoke repression and even a certain strength” (46).
“There was something coming to her and she was waiting for it, fearfully….She was beginning to realize this thing that was approaching to possess her, and she was striving to beat it back with her will…” (46).
“’Free, free, free!’….There would be no one to live for her during those coming years; she would live for herself” (46).
“And yet she had loved him—sometimes. Often she had not” (46).
“’Go away. I am not making myself ill.’ No; she was drinking in a very elixir of life through that open window” (47).
“When the doctors came they said she died of heart disease—of joy that kills” (47).
· Interracial relationships do happen and should be understood and dealt with humanely for the sake of love.
· Women should not be thought guilty based on their gender alone.
· Love should conquer all.
“My mother, they tell me I am not white. Armand has told me I am not white. For God’s sake tell them it is not true. You must know it is not true. I shall die. I must die. I cannot be so unhappy, and live” (66).
“’My own Desiree: Come home to Valmonde; back to your mother who loves you. Come with your child” (66).
[In a note found by Armand from Armand’s mother to his father] “’But above all,’ she wrote, ‘night and day, I thank the good God for having so arranged our lives that our dear Armand will never know that his mother, who adores him, belongs to the race that is cursed with the brand of slavery’” (66).
· A story of unleashed passion and its instinctual existence.
· This story argues against the “double-standard” that favors males and sexual promisquity.
· Certain “matters” must be properly handled.
“’Do you remember—in Assumption, Calixta?’ [Alcee] asked in a low voice broken by passion. Oh! She remembered; for in Assumption he had kissed her and kissed her; until his senses would well nigh fail” (II:73).
“They did not heed the crashing torrents, and the roar of the elements made her laugh as she lay in his arms” (II:73).
“The generous abundance of her passion, without guile or trickery, was like a white flame which penetrated and found response in depths of his own sensuous nature that had never yet been reached” (II:73).
“Bobinot and Bibi began to relax and enjoy themselves, and when the three seated themselves at the table they laughed much and so loud that anyone might have heard them as far away as Laballiere” (III:74)
“Alcee Laballiere wrote to his wife, Clarisse, that night. It was a loving letter, full of tender solitude. He told her not to hurry back, but if she and the babies liked it at Biloxi, to stay a month longer” (IV:74).
“As for Clarisse, she was charmed upon receiving her husband’s letter….and the first free breath since her marriage seemed to restore the pleasant liberty of her maiden days. Devoted as she was to her husband, their intimate conjugal life was something which she was willing to forego for a while” (V:75).
“So the storm passed and everyone was happy” (V:75).