Death represents freedom in “The Story of an Hour.” Mrs. Mallard hears that her husband was tragically killed. In addition, Mrs. Mallard has a delicate heart condition, so her sister and her husband’s friend are afraid to tell her the news. At first, Mrs. Mallard experiences shock and what appears to be sadness. However, as she sits alone in her room, she realizes that her husband’s death means she can finally be free and truly alive. In other words, her husband’s death is not only an escape from an oppressive marriage, but it’s a chance for Mrs. Mallard to be free to do what she wants. Even though she knows she will be sad at his funeral, Mrs. Mallard is finally free to think about her life on her own, but her newfound freedom after his death isn’t meant to last. Mrs. Mallard finds that her husband is alive and well, and she quickly dies. Basically, she has to die in order to be free. Otherwise, she would continue to be a wife without freedom or freedom to think for herself.
Phoenix is definitely the opposite of helpless. The trip alone proves her mental strength and physical endurance. While she’s very old, she manages to make the brutal trip, but it may be due to her mentality. Love is powerful, and she clearly cares for her grandson. In a way, it almost seems like Phoenix wants others to view her as weak, so she can get what she wants. For instance, she wasn’t really stealing when she found the hunter’s nickel because she saw the coin as an opportunity.
Wisdom does give people an edge. In Phoenix’s case, her wisdom carried her through her journey. She knew the odds should she not make it because her grandson would die. It’s like the author used the title “A Worn Path” to demonstrate Phoenix’s wisdom. Wisdom develops over the years, but, at the same time, one can grow tired. In this case, the worn path was Phoenix’s realization that she needed to act one way and she couldn’t change. Also, the worn path was one that never really changed because there were always other people, nature, and animals to contend with.
Arp, Thomas R., and Greg Johnson. Perrine's Story and Structure. 13th ed. Boston, MA: Wadsworth/Cengage Learning, 2012. Print.