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From Awakening to Disillusionment in One Hour

   A Story of an Hour is a short story written by Kate Chopin (1851-1904), a representative writer of American women's literature in the second half of the 19th century. She was once condemned as indecent by the public opinion at the time because of the novel "Awakening", but later critics gave her high praise, thinking that she was a pioneer of DH Lawrence and Simon de Beauvoir.

  "The Story of an Hour" is very short, less than 3,000 words, and the plot is quite simple. The author chose the moment when Mrs. Mallard suddenly heard of her husband's death in a car accident as the starting point of the story. She sincerely mourned her husband's death, but suddenly found out that she had spent most of her life with such a mediocre and boring person. Now Finally feel "free". Ironically, if it weren't for this over-excitement, she wouldn't have been so excited to see her husband alive that she paid the price with her life for that moment of freedom.

  This short one-hour story is actually about a woman's gradual awakening and rapid disillusionment process. Although the author cherishes ink like gold, with his superb narrative skills - the ingenious use of foreshadowing and suspense, the story is read with ups and downs, and turns thousands of times.

  The novel begins with the description of Mrs. Mallard's reaction to the news of her husband's death from her sister: "If other women were in this situation, they would be overwhelmed and unable to accept the reality. She was not like that. I fell into my sister's arms and burst into tears." This leaves the reader with suspense as to why Mrs. Mallard behaves differently from other women? What is her relationship with her husband like?

  After the lady calmed down a little, she walked into her room alone and sat down facing the window. What kind of picture did she see at this time? — "She could see the gently swaying treetops on the grounds in front of the house, full of the vigor of early spring, the air was full of the fragrance of showers, and a peddler in the street below was chanting his wares. In the distance came Someone's faint singing, countless sparrows chirping under the eaves. To the west of her window, a blue sky here and there is exposed between the clouds that meet and weigh each other." A peaceful, joyful and vibrant early spring scene, is this the mood a woman immersed in the pain of bereavement should have? This adds to the reader's doubts.

  Sitting in the chair facing the window, the lady sobbed once or twice, "She is still young and beautiful. The lines in her calm face show a considerable restraint." This short sentence is the only place where the author makes The description of the heroine's appearance, "young and beautiful" may indicate that the lady has the capital without despair, she can remarry, and her life is still full of hope, but what is that "restraining ability", is the lady suppressing at the moment? Some kind of emotion in your heart? Is it sadness? Obviously not, in this case, she doesn't need to suppress this normal emotional catharsis at all! So what exactly is it?

  The lady looked at the blue sky in the distance and thought about the problem rationally. She suddenly felt "something is coming to her, she was waiting, and she was a little scared. What is that? She didn't know, it was too subtle and incomprehensible, she said no. Clear, unknown." "She began to recognize the thing that was closing in on her to take possession of her, and she struggled to make up her mind to knock it back—but her will was as weak as her white, slender hands." What is it that makes Mrs. so eager to come out, but she desperately suppresses it? After all, she couldn't hold back, and her feelings exploded in an instant--" As she relaxed herself, a quiet voice slipped out of her weak lips. She whispered over and over again: 'Free, free, free It's gone!'" What's going on here? Madam's husband died suddenly, but she made such an unreasonable cry. Isn't this too outrageous? ! With the confession of the wife's true feelings, the readers' doubts reached a peak, and the novel also reached a climax.

  Then, when Madame began to passionately conceive of her bright future after the death of her husband, she explained the essence of their relationship as husband and wife - "In the years to come, no one will be in charge of her; she will be independent No more strong will to force her into submission, how strange that someone should believe, blindly and stubbornly, that they have the right to impose their will on others." "Of course she loved him-- Sometimes I love him. But often I don't love him." At this moment, the doubts in the reader's heart were completely dissipated, and the eyes suddenly became clear. It turned out that the lady did not love her domineering husband at all, and the death of her husband was a great opportunity for her. It is a much-desired liberation and freedom!

  So far, the author begins to lead readers into thinking about the social issue of "women's status", and expresses the author's dissatisfaction with the social phenomenon of inequality between men and women at that time and deep sympathy for women with cold irony.

  In the 19th century male-dominated, hierarchical, hypocritical and snobbish capitalist society, most women had no way to choose their own marriage. Property and family were the main factors to be considered in marriage, while love and happiness were often the main factors to be considered. A price to be sacrificed. After a woman is married into her husband's family and takes her husband's surname, her personality and dignity as an independent person are also wiped out along with her maiden name. Since then, she has become a vassal of her husband and family, and strives to play the social role of a good wife and good mother. .

  It is conceivable that Mrs. Mallard, like "Anna Karenina", married a Mr. Mallard whom she did not know at a very young age. The youthful Mrs. Mallard used to be full of beautiful visions for a new life, but Mr. Mallard was selfish, ruthless, arbitrary, too rational and lacking in life consciousness. In the family life of many years of not knowing what love is, the wife's dreams, passion and vitality have been completely suffocated. She gradually became numb and desperate, and like other women, she bowed her head and followed her husband's footsteps step by step. This kind of life made "she tremble with disgust when she thought that maybe she would die for a long time."

  At this moment, God brought the news of her husband's death for his wife. Ethics and morality told her that she should be sad and sad, so she cried sincerely. runny nose; but when she was alone, "there was a wicked pleasure controlling her" - "free! free in body and mind!" Yes, from now on, the husband disappeared, and no one restrained her freedom , no one will impose her own will on her anymore, she finally "has an independent will", and she can dominate her own life! - "The years to come are all hers. She welcomes them with open arms." "She is fantasizing about the years to come. Spring, summer, and all time will be hers. She quietly made a quick prayer, wishing her life would last longer." The dream, passion, and vitality of the past came back to her, and she looked forward to reading, writing letters, visiting the garden, and even unrestrained. Encounter true love! When she walked out the door with these in her head, "her eyes were filled with the passion of victory, and she acted like a goddess of victory without knowing it."

  However, the situation suddenly took a turn for the worse - when his wife came downstairs with her sister, Brantley Mallard (Mr. Mallard) appeared in front of them calmly... It turned out that Mr. Mallard did not take the train. , luckily escaped that catastrophe! So far the novel has reached its second climax. And what was the result of this dramatic turn of events? - "When the doctors came, they said she died of a heart attack - that she died of euphoria." - The novel came to an abrupt end.

  In just a few minutes, all dreams are shattered, and life is irresistibly reversed back to its original track. "Everyone knows that Mrs. Mallard has a heart problem", how can she bear such a back and forth fooling within an hour! Death made her dignity. The irony is that the wife died of extreme joy, and perhaps Mr. Mallard would be in pain. After all, his innocent wife was so overjoyed and excited to see him "surviving unexpectedly"! He even asked for a monument to be sent to express his gratitude to his faithful wife! ——But what is the truth, only Mrs. Mallard herself knows. On the other hand, for Mrs., such an ending may not be a bad thing. Since the original life made "she tremble with disgust at the thought that she might die after a long time", then when her dream was shattered, She might as well leave early...

  Kate Chopin, a feminist writer, uses a dark humor to interpret the process of a woman's eagerness to break free from the cage of family and patriarchy and finally hope to be disillusioned. The work reveals that in the society where men and women were unequal at that time, women were content to exist as vassals of their husbands and servants of the family, and they were willing to be inferior to others. Those few awakened people have made hard efforts to obtain independent will and free space in their families, but the grim reality often warns them that those delusions are just nonsense, just like the article in this article. Heroine, it only takes one hour from awakening to disillusionment! 


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