The Joy that Kills

The Joy that Kills


Louise and I were closer than most sisters. I think what made us closer was when she was ill and started having heart problems. That’s when our bond grew stronger.

I see Richards, Louise’s husband’s friend, pacing quickly towards me as I was on my way to work. By the look on his face, I quickly knew he came bearing bad news. I had no clue what to expect as a million thoughts rushed through my mind. He tells me that Brently Mallard, Louise’s husband, was leading the list of “killed” in a railroad disaster. He didn’t even believe it so he double checked with a second telegram and this time was certain. I blanked out for a second and then couldn’t help but think if Louise would be happy or sad. I wanted to believe my sister was happy in her marriage but I thought otherwise.

As Richards and I head over to Louise’s house nervously, he tells me that Brently thought his wife was unhappy. I was even more concerned and that made me believe my first instincts. Finally, we arrive at Louise’s house. I can smell the fear as she sees me and Richards walk towards her, together, which was odd. The first question she asked was “Is Brently alright?”, although she was certain of the answer. I began by saying “There’ been an accident…” and she cut me off, screaming and weeping wildly. She thrust herself into my arms and I felt her heart on my chest, beating rapidly.

Before I can even comfort her, she escapes from my hold and run away, into her room and slams the door and locks it. Richard says to me “Give her some time to let it sink in.” I was stunned, so Richards gently sat me down in the living room chair. It took every ounce of power in me not to go after my sister because I knew she needed to be alone. I cannot control my thoughts that were jumbled in my mind. I began to think whether i was wrong for believing she would be happy, or I misinterpreted her whole marriage and she actually cared for Brently, judging by her dramatic reaction. Normally, I would think most women do not react right away, as they are in sudden shock, at this point I don’t know what to think, but all I had to do was wait. We sat there, quietly and awkwardly as we locked eyes a couple times, maybe we were both thinking how quiet it was upstairs. 

A little too quiet. I go upstairs and listen closely through the door as I hear her chanting under her breath “free, free, free!” I thought she had gone mad. I couldn’t help but think that I was right, she didn’t love her husband–sometimes, but her marriage was not that of a good one for sure. It had seemed that my sister was locked away in a whole other space and I could not get to her. Even though the only barrier between us was the door, it felt more than that, and I had no access to what was going on.

I thought that Louise would need a shoulder to cry on, because she always came to me when she was upset, maybe she wasn’t upset for some reason. It’s almost been an hour and I could not take it anymore. I pressed my lips against the key hole and demanded entrance. “Louise, open the door!” I begged. “Open the door- you will make yourself ill. What are you doing, Louise? For heavens sake open the door.” “Go away I am not making myself ill” she yelled. I heard her rise from where she was and turned the door knob. I rushed to her aid. She seemed relaxed and carried herself like a Goddess of Victory. She held my waist as I helped her down the stairs. Richards stood at the bottom of the stairs waiting to be of assistance to Louise. I hear the front door being unlocked and wondered who that could be. It was a confused Brently Mallard, who was supposedly dead. He looked like he had no clue of what happened and was far away from the scene of the accident. It all happened so quickly as Richards reacts to this by screening him from the view of his wife. But, it was too late. When the doctors arrived, they said she had died of heart disease—of the joy that kills.


 In the story, “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin, the kind of narrative being used is third-limited narrator. “Story Of An Hour” was written in 1894, and in that time period women had no power and were restricted. They could not give any opinions and their feelings didn’t matter. Some women were “trapped” in their marriage by force. This short story is about a woman named Mrs. Mallard, who receives bad news that her husband had died in a railroad accident. They tell her the news slowly but surely, and she weeps about it then goes into her room and locks herself away. She begins to realize that this so called bad thing isn’t that bad at all, but granted her freedom that she never thought she would get. She starts looking forward to the future instead of dreading it. When Mrs. Mallard fi