The Oppression of Mrs. Mallard in Kate Choppin's The Story of an Hour

In “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin use of details and figurative language to express how freedom from any form of oppression is beyond gratifying. Granted, the story was written in the 1800’s the concept still applies to everybody, today. It can be seen everywhere. Someone is always oppressed in some form or another, and they always realize it after it is too late to do something about it. However, some people are so lucky as to get a second chance. Such is the case for Mrs. Mallard in Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour.”

Chopin has this thing about using vivid detail to assert some well developed ideas and concepts. Details are found all throughout the text and assist tremendously with communicating the general idea. A good example of this can be found in paragraph five, where Chopin shares what can be seen outside Mrs. Mallard’s window.

“… could see in the open before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the

new spring life… delicious breath of rain was in the air… a peddler was crying his

wares… a distant song which some one was singing reached her faintly, and countless

sparrows were twittering in the eaves.” (Page 15)

All of the details all associate, in a way, to new life or a fresh beginning. These details serve as a way of “broadening the audience’s horizons.” They allow the audience to find a few similarities with what it feels like to be free and have a fresh start. Most people would agree that new found freedom and new beginnings both feel pretty amazing. Chopin does a pretty great job at expressing that, and making those connections. Another way she uses detail is to express exactly what Mrs. Mallard feeling in the very moment she realizes she is free, “There was feverish triumph… carried herself unwittingly like a goddess of victory.” (Page 16) Someone that realizes that they are finally free of some sort of oppression will always feel as if they can conquer the world. This happens to be what Mrs. Mallard is feeling at that very moment, it seems she feels like she can take down anything that stands in her way. New found freedom has a way of installing such power into the minds of those who have received it, as it has for Mrs. Mallard.

Secondly, Chopin uses figurative language throughout her text in order to make the connections easier to pick up on and relate to. One of the easiest to pick up on happens to be an epiphany, “Free! Body and soul free!”” (Page 16) Through her epiphany, the audience can pick up on a few things. Firstly, freedom is a new thing for Mrs. Mallard; freedom has not always been within her grasp. Secondly, how empowering freedom is. Freedom is always a big deal. Chopin even goes as far as to say that Mrs. Mallard “was drinking in a very elixir of life.” (Page 16) Firstly, the word elixir is defined as a “magical or medicinal potion.” So, to call freedom an elixir is making a rather large statement. It is like saying that freedom has been some type of unattainable magic all along, and she has finally found the hidden treasure.

Overall, Chopin makes some rather strong opinions and connections on the concept of newfound freedom. All of which are relatable, even the youth of present day society. Finding new freedom from a dark force that has been lingering for as long as one can recall can be widely universal.

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The Oppression of Mrs. Mallard in Kate Choppin's The Story of an Hour. (2022, Nov 30). Retrieved February 23, 2024 , from

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