A one hour interpretation!

“The story of an hour” is the story of one hour duration in a couple’s life. A husband is dead and it is supposed that the news of his death must be broken to his wife as gently as possible, because she suffers from a heart trouble! Her sister, Josephine, breaks the news to her in “broken sentences; veiled hints that revealed in half concealing”, she doesn’t react like an ordinary widow “she didn’t hear the news as many women have heard the same, with a paralyzed inability, to accept its significance. She wept at once…” this unorthodox reaction foreshadows what’s going to happen; she is not an ordinary woman! In the third paragraph we have a reference to her storm of grief, it must be a verbal irony because as we come to understand her grief is not a storm it’s just a breeze! Then she goes to her room alone, like the woman in the story yellow wallpaper ١, they experience the same feeling of loneliness. They don’t wish to be disturbed by others. In their room, they experience new things. The yellow woman experiences the freedom to creep and Louis of our story experiences a new life. She sinks in a comfortable, roomy armchair which faces an open window. The window is open; it shows that there is a possibility of freedom for Louis. She sees the tops of trees, not their bottoms, which were all aquiver with the spring life. It’s spring time, the time of renewal; so there is a renewal in Louis’s life as well. She doesn’t recognize this sense of renewal from the beginning; it’s somehow strange to her, it’s a new sensation. The notes of a distant song reaches her faintly, maybe it’s from her within. Her soul is singing the song of her freedom, but it is still faint because she is not aware of it. It was raining but now there are patches of the blue sky showing here and there through the clouds. Her life’s the same, it was always cloudy and rainy but now there is hope to regain freedom. After crying for seconds she feels that she is young again. There is a stare in her eyes on one of the blue patches, it’s the beginning of her awakening; it’s a “suspension of intelligent”. There is something coming to her, and she was waiting for it fearfully! She is afraid of this new sensation, this change. She

hadn’t experienced this feeling for a long time, that’s why she is afraid; it is quite unknown to her. She was the angel in the house ٢, that’s why this new force that is haunting her is unacceptable to her and she strives to beat it back with her will! Then suddenly something comes from her soul, from her unconscious, a whisper! It says “free, free, free!” the vacant stare and the look of horror leaves her at once. This is the moment of self-realization. She has found her identity at last, her true identity as a human being not as a repressed animal. Now her eyes are keen and bright. She is relaxed. She’s escaped the pressure. Now she knows that this new feeling is not a monstrous joy, it’s something natural! Women must be as free as men are! She welcomes the long procession of lonely coming years with open arms. She would live for herself, there will be no more pressures, there will be no more powerful wills bending hers. Now love, this unsolved mystery, the reason of slavery and survival of generation ٣ is nothing in face of this possession of self-assertion. Now she is free! Body and soul! Now she only thinks about the freshness of spring and the warmth of summer. It was only yesterday that she had thought with a shudder that life might be long, but now she hopes for a long, lonely life! She wants more of life. She wants to spend her life slowly and joyfully. She is the goddess of victory, she’s won the game. She has something to live for, her loneliness! She can sit and count the joyful days that are to come. She can look upon the days that are passed and enjoy the days that are ahead, spring days, which are full of new things. Some critics say that the end of story is a surprise ending. But I must say no! It is not a surprise. It is something that happens to those who stand in front of fate. The woman must have died in the beginning of the story when she heard of her husband’s death. Because she stood it and she tried to make her life tolerable and enjoyable, fate dealt its cards and killed her. This is what always happens to a nonconformist. It is her final destination ٤!

Notes:
1: yellow wallpaper is a story by charlotte Perkins Gilman. 2: refer to Darwin’s ideas on Love and Marriage. 3: the angel of the house is a poem by Coventry Patmore on the concept of womanhood. 4: the name of a popular movie.

S.Z.Hosseini

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