My Short Lived Happy Ending
I finish my meal, and walk towards the kitchen, when I hear the doorbell ring. I slowly walk to the door. Due to my heart trouble I try not to overwork myself. I open the door to find my sister, Josephine, and my husband’s friend, Richards, standing outside. I invite them in, but they both have a gloomy look on their faces. My sister starts to talk, “Louise, Richards was at the newspaper office when he heard of the railroad disaster.” I nod, wondering what does this have to do with me. She seems to be speaking in broken sentences, and I can hear grief in her voice. As she continues, her voice gets high pitched and cracks, “Among the names of those killed, was Brently Mallard.”
What? The immeasurable pain struck me like a lightning bolt. I immediately scream at the news and threw myself into Josephine’s arms crying. I can’t believe it. My poor husband has been killed. I continue to cry until the grief eased up. I walk to my room, having no one follow me.
When I enter my room, I quickly lock the door behind me and proceeded to the window. I stood at the open window then sank into the comfortable armchair behind me. My exhaustion troubled me. I observe the landscape outside the window. The tops of the trees are shaking; it must be the new spring life. I take a deep breath and sense the rain in the air. Below in the street, is a peddler. Above, the blue sky is showing in patches due to the clouds that piled up together.
I throw my head back on the cushion of the chair, and remain motionless, except for a sob that came up from my throat and caused me to shake. Why? Why did this have to happen to him? To me?
I thought to myself. I’m a young woman, for my face is clear and calm, the lines on my face show a sign of strength.
Then, I started to feel something come to me. I don’t know what it was, but I feel it creeping up towards me through the sounds, scents, and colors that filled the air.
Now that my husband is gone, I have no one to limit me on my actions. I rise from the chair, and fall back down. I begin to feel empowerment, excitement even. Most women that I know would never feel such a way after their husband’s death. “Free, free, free!” I begin to whisper. My pulses start to race. The terror which had overwhelmed me has dissolved.
I had loved Brently sometimes, though I often did not. I tried to shake that thought out of my head because it doesn’t matter anymore. I knew that once I see my husband at the funeral, in his coffin just lying there, I would grieve once again. Subsequently, the years that I have left will belong to me and no one else. I welcome the time I will have. That power that my husband had, that bended my own, is now gone. Love is an unresolved mystery, which can’t count for the possession of self-assertion that I have just been given access to.
I started to whisper again, “Free! Body and soul free!”
Josephine was behind the door shouting, “Louise, open the door! You will make yourself ill!” I ignore her warning. I am not making myself ill. My husband was who made me ill. “Go away! I am not making myself ill!” I shout in reply.
I think of the days to come, spring and summer days, and all types. All of these days will be my own. I took a deep breath, praying that life may be long.
I finally get up from the chair, and open the door to my sister. I grab her waist and walked down the stairs with her. My newly found freedom has filled me with life. Richards was still here waiting at the bottom.
Then, as we reached the bottom stair, someone opened the front door with a key. My terror returned at the sight of the figure that entered. It was Brently. My heart begins to race and I feel a horrible pain in my chest. I grab my chest and fall, then just pure darkness.
Comparative Essay – “The Story of An Hour” and “My Short Lived Happy Ending”
“The Story of An Hour” and “My Short Lived Happy Ending” both tell the same story, but with different narration styles. “The Story of An Hour” gives the reader a third person narration. In “My Short Lived Happy Ending,” the reader is given an autodiegetic first person narration. The difference in the narration can change how each story is interpreted. In the original story, “The Story of An Hour,” the third person limited narrator actually shows the death of Mrs. Mallard, gives access to some of her thoughts, and a view of more than one room in the story, while in the retelling, “My Short Lived Happy Ending,” the first person autodiegetic narrator gives full access to Mrs. Mallard’s thoughts, showing the true reason for her death without actually showing her death, and a view of only the rooms that she is in.
In both the original and retelling the death of Louise was depicted differently. The original states, “It was Brently Mallard who entered, a little travel-stained, composedly carrying his grip-sack and umbrella. He had been far from the scene of the accident, and did not even know there had been one. He stood amazed at Josephine’s piercing cry; at Richards’ quick motion to screen him from the view of his wife. When the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease–of the joy that kills.” In this quotation, the narrator is showing the death of Louise, but the characters of the story think she died of a heart attack caused by the joy of seeing her husband alive. The retelling states otherwise. “Then, as we reached the bottom stair, someone opened the front door with a key. My terror returned at the sight of the figure that entered. It was Brently. My heart begins to race and I feel a horrible pain in my chest. I grab my chest and fall, then just pure darkness.” At the sight of her husband, Louise’s heart began to race. She died of fear. Fear that her freedom will be taken away from her once more, since her husband wasn’t actually dead. “My heart begins to race and I feel a horrible pain in my chest. I grab my chest and fall, then just pure darkness.” This line was used to represent Mrs. Mallard’s death. It was difficult to include her death into the retelling, but her heart beginning to race and her chest pain was used to symbolize her dying from the heart disease which she had.
In the retelling, there is access to all of Louise’s thoughts during the course of the story. This shows her true feelings about her husband’s death. “Now that my husband is gone, I have no one to limit me on my actions. I rise from the chair, and fall back down. I begin to feel empowerment, excitement even. Most women that I know would never feel such a way after their husband’s death. ”Free, free, free!” I begin to whisper. My pulses start to race. The terror which had overwhelmed me has dissolved” With this access, the reader can interpret that her relationship with her husband wasn’t something that made her happy. It held her back from living her life. In the original, “Now her bosom rose and fell tumultuously. She was beginning to recognize this thing that was approaching to possess her, and she was striving to beat it back with her will–as powerless as her two white slender hands would have been. When she abandoned herself a little whispered word escaped her slightly parted lips. She said it over and over under the breath: “free, free, free!” The vacant stare and the look of terror that had followed it went from her eyes. They stayed keen and bright. Her pulses beat fast, and the coursing blood warmed and relaxed every inch of her body.” The reader is given Mrs. Mallard’s thoughts, but only to some extent. They’re told that after the death of her husband, Mrs. Mallard comes to realization that she’s finally free. In both stories, the narrator shows the reader that Mrs. Mallard is full of joy after her husband’s death. One difference is that the retelling shows that joy in more detail.
The main differences between these two stories are the type of narrations. “The Story of An Hour,” is written in third person limited, allowing the reader to know what’s going on in multiple places of the story. “Josephine was kneeling before the closed door with her lips to the keyhold, imploring for admission. “Louise, open the door! I beg; open the door–you will make yourself ill. What are you doing, Louise? For heaven’s sake open the door.” “Go away. I am not making myself ill.” No; she was drinking in a very elixir of life through that open window.” In “My Short Lived Happy Ending,” this part is told in a different view,” Josephine was behind the door shouting,” Louise, open the door! You will make yourself ill!” I ignore her warning. I am not making myself ill. My husband was who made me ill. “Go away! I am not making myself ill!” I shout in reply.” From Louise’s point of view she doesn’t know that her sister is kneeling behind the door, she only sees the room that she’s in. In the original, the reader is shown both inside and outside of the room.
In writing the retelling of “The Story of An Hour,” the main goal was to give the reader Mrs. Mallard’s point of view. This helps clear up any confusion about what she’s actually feeling, or the reason for her death. Although, the original shows this, it’s not from Mrs. Mallard’s point of view. Her point of view allows the reader to fully understand her true feelings that she develops after she grieved her husband.