A Resting Assurance
In the Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” the relationship between art and nature are different, but in some ways quite similar. Art and nature becomes compliments of each other. Art can be defined as anything made by humans, thoughts of the mind, dreams, and nature. Chopin illustrates how art and nature comes together and forms a picture for her character, Mrs. Mallard. In many cases of life, specifically Mrs. Mallard’s, death becomes an escape from life’s trials and tribulations we as people are faced with. “Death becomes and escape to new life, the afterlife, where we as children of God are taught that there are no worries that individuals encounter, will not be faced with in heaven.” To those who are not afraid of death, it provides A Resting Assurance that the afterlife will be full of joyful times and a form of freedom. In this case some people look so much forward to death that their life’s dreams and perceptions of life goes unfulfilled. Oppression is a big issue that Mrs. Mallard faces which is not unfamiliar in today’s times. Being a woman in the eighteenth and nineteenth century, I could only imagine how times were for a powerless woman.
What is art? Art can be a beautiful red bird flying through the air. It can be a lovely rainbow painted throughout the sky. Art can truly be what you make it. Art represents illusions of the mind whereas nature represents a peace of mind. To fully understand this concept you must first have a peace of mind with nature to draw the illusions that your mind creates. In Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour,” Mrs. Mallard visualizes many things in nature and creates a beautiful picture of new life during a grievance moment. However art and nature are indeed compliments of each other. “There were patches of blue sky showing here and there through the clouds that had met and piled one above the other in the west facing her window.” In this passage the blue sky to Mrs. Mallard is an art. When clouds are blue and scattered this signifies to me a peaceful, spring, and calm setting. It also represents a new life and a new beginning to enjoy the simple things in life such as nature and the joy it brings.
Mrs. Mallard exemplifies a characteristic that is old as Jerusalem, but as modern as war of terrorism. This characteristic is what we call oppression. Webster defines oppression as a feeling of being heavily weighed down either mentally or physically; depression; weariness. One could only imagine how Mrs. Mallard truly felt about her marriage, her husband, and of the joy that kills. Moreover Kate Chopin does a wonderful job expressing Mrs. Mallard’s oppressed feelings about her husband’s death. “Free! Body and Soul Free!” During a time of grievance of a family member so close as a spouse she finds it hard to grieve, but focuses on her new life alone. She can now live for herself. “But she saw beyond that bitter moment long processions of years to come that would belong to her absolutely.” No one knows the state of mind of an oppressed individual until they experience oppression first hand. Mrs. Mallard reminds me a lot of my grandmother, but with a slight twist of situation. My grandmother is a diminchi patient, which is a form of Alzheimer and resides in a local nursing home. I can remember my Aunt Odessa telling me the story of my grandmother’s marriage, and how my grandfather did not let her live her life. She was not allowed to leave the house unless he said so. Her job was to be bare feet, pregnant, to have his dinner ready ready at the end of his days work. If she didn’t obey his rules he would beat her until that was all she knew. I tried to put myself in my grandmother’s shoes and wonder why she didn’t leave, but I had to imagine myself in the south in the 1930’s and as an African-American woman, with no education and no job. What and who do you turn to. Your parents not having the funding necessary to send you to school so you can grow up to be someone other than their slave. What about no jobs available, so the only choice is to get married and have your husband provide you with the essentials of life such as: food, clothing, shelter, and eight children to take care of. I think to myself, how could you live with someone for 55 years and deal with those types of things? To feel oppressed in the 1930’s is one thing, but to be an oppressed woman in the 18-19th century is another. Most families would hate to result to this matter, or better yet do anything to prevent it. However, my family is quite relieved. She gets the attention and the care she needs 24 hours a day and is no longer in the household that plaques her memory. Diminchi, is a disease that allows you to have no recollection of people, places, or memories (the memories of her oppressed life). I am sure she would not want to remember, and I am sure my family would not want her to recall. This is a new life my grandmother now lives.
One reliable outcome that helps escape all worries, including oppression is death. To some people death is valued as an art. In Mrs. Mallard’s case it is only through death that she could have a mental freedom. Mrs. Mallard experiences through death the same occurrences such as: blue skies, delicious rains, a new spring life, and the sounds and scents of the fresh air. It was at that moment death became an art of new life, rebirth, and a new beginning for her. The doctor’s also states she dies “of joy that kills.”
In conclusion art and nature compliments death. In ways that Mrs. Mallard focuses on the beauty of nature and the joy it brings. She turns these things into an artful picture, which only she can see, and which she is the artist. Anyone male or female can become artist within themselves, not to please others, but to please their own heart’s desires. They also can use their inner artist to free themselves of the mental and physical hardships of life. On the other hand what does one get from oppressing another? In one or more cases such as in Mrs. Mallard’s situation, power is the key. As long as Mr. Mallard is alive he seems to conquer Mrs. Mallard’s mental stability giving him the power to make her feel powerless in that she could not live for herself.