The Awakening The Story of an Hour Discussion Questions Describe Mrs. Mallard (age, etc.). Discuss her physical condition. Why is this important to the story? Mrs. Mallard is a very old woman with a heart condition. This is important to the story because when her husband dies, they have to tell her gently so she doesn?t have a heart attack. Kidney stones would not have the same effect on the story. Who told Mrs. Mallard about her husband?s death? How did they go about it? Why? Her sister Josephine and Richard, her husband?s friend. They told her in broken sentences to make it easier on her weak heart. How did her husband die? Can we make any inferences of the specifics of his death/do we have enough information? How was the news heard? By whom? Her husband died in a train accident, but no inferences can be made on the specifics because that is the only information we receive. The news was heard through telegram by Richard, who checked it twice to confirm. What was Mrs. Mallard?s reaction immediate reaction to the news? Speculate: is this a common reaction? Mrs. Mallard wept and grieved of abandonment immediately. No, this is uncommon because ?most women couldn?t understand the significance?, or in other words most women would have gone into a state of disbelief and shock first. How did her initial reaction change? Where did she proceed to go and why? The storm passed and she went to a chair (comfortable) and sat alone to grieve by the window. Give specific words and phrases from the story that signifies a ?rebirth? or an ?awakening? (in the bedroom). Note the symbolism. Tops of the trees with new spring life, blue sky through the patches of clouds, bright and sunny, roomy chair, rain in the air, sparrows, open and new. What do we find out from Mrs. Mallard about her relationship with her husband? Use specific sentences from the story to support your statements. Why did the author let us, the reader, know about the relationship, but not the other characters? It was overpowering, Mr. Mallard had all of the control over Mrs. Mallard, with no compassion. ?Demanding and Cold?, ?No will bending hers?, she exclaims ?free!?, ?His face that never looked at her with love.? The author let us know about her relationship and her newfound freedom but not the other characters because it would ruin the irony at the end. How does the story end? What do the characters think is the reason/cause of her death? Mrs. Mallard sees her husband walk through the door and dies. The characters think she is so overwhelmed with joy that she has a heart attack. Read the last sentence of the story. What is the irony of her death? Her life? Why is the story ?ironic? in the end? What are the factors in the story that added to the irony? The irony of her death was that she finally was free and ready to live a long, happy life in which she was dreading before but she dies as soon as she finds freedom. The irony of her life is that she never really was living at all. The story is ironic in the end because all of the other characters think she died from joy of seeing her husband, when really she was so devastated he was alive that she died. The factors that contributed to this irony were the naivety of the other characters, Mrs. Mallard?s awakening to a happy life, and her heart condition. Speculate: what statement(s) is the author making in the story about life? The value of life? Purpose for living? Happiness, etc.? ?These are just a few ideas. Kate Chopin is trying to convey the message that you can never be happy until you live how you want to, not by the will of someone else. And when you do find that happiness, you better treasure it, because it can be over just as fast as it came.
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