Characters of “The Story of an Hour”: Louise Mallard: she is referred to by her married name which implies the great extent to which her identity is linked to her husband. Brently Mallard: husband of Louise Mallard. Believed to be deceased due to an accident at the beginning of the story. He doesn’t make an appearance until the last scene. Josephine: sister of Louise Mallard.
In Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour" we go through an hour of Mrs. Mallard's life as she learns of her husband's death and embraces the freedom this brings forth. This new-found freedom is short lived as the sight of her allegedly dead husband walks through the front door, Mrs. Mallard succumbs to her death immediately. This story, although it is short, it is deeply symbolic, filled with irony that is used to achieve major themes of freedom and societal views. Mrs. Mallard's heart condition is used as a symbol of the way society views women. Women tend to be viewed as delicate, emotionally and physically.
Mrs. Mallard has no children and she is unhappy in the couple. The scene opens up, “Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with a heart trouble, great care was taken to break to her as gently as possible the news of her husband’s death” (Chopin 13). The opening sentence of the story foreshadows the
Body and soul free! She kept whispering” (Chopin 203). The reader is told that Mr. Mallard is assumed to die from a railroad accident. The railroad has been used to symbolize a transition, moving on, and change. The death of Mr. Mallard would be a transition from Mrs. Mallard being some man’s wife to becoming her own person.
She received the news from her sister, “great care was taken to break to her as gently as possible the news of her husband’s death” (Chopin). At first she was broken by the news when she received it. Receiving the news, she suddenly felt like her world had changed. A dynamic character is a character that goes through a change after a conflict or a crisis, this change happens over time. Even though her husband did not die Mrs. Mallard still went through the traumatic experience of losing a loved one.
She was shocked by the news and showed sad feelings in the story. However, when I was reading through the story, I could infer that Mallard had a terrible marriage life with her husband because the story later said that Mallard was happy because she had freedom. In the beginning of the story, she was shocked and sad but later on, she was happy because of in dependence. These evidences prove that she is a dynamic character. Round character in the story definitely would be Louise Mallard because she is fully developed and has a lot of emotions throughout the story.
If the last line of “The Story of an Hour” is taken in the literal sense, it can be perceived that Mrs. Mallard was not oppressed and was ecstatic that her husband was alive, ultimately being killed by the excitement. Although the latter it is a logical presumption, the thoughts and actions of Louise Mallard reinforce the argument that the true meaning behind this story is one of marital oppression. She blatantly stated that she welcomes the upcoming years free from her husband with open arms. Louise Mallard’s internal dialogue following her husband’s death suggests oppression and her reaction to her husband’s death was hardly one of a distraught wife. It is true that the blame doesn’t
It is apparent that the narrator is aware of more than can be physically observed. Chopin, however, by no means, tells the audience what Mrs. Mallard is feeling inside. Instead, the audience has to investigate Mrs. Mallard 's actions and words in order to apprehend what Mrs. Mallard feels. Mrs. Mallard is once again returned to her marriage. The lines on her face "bespoke repression" (Paragraph 8).
Because of the attitude towards women in the society of that day, many women possessed strength that they were never allowed to use. Chopin implies that this strength is repressed when she describes Mrs. Mallard as having a face "whose lines bespoke repression and even a certain strength" (Page 202). Mrs. Mallard is a strong woman who immediately begins to take her life into her own hands and starts to make decisions and plans for her future. Many women would not have had the strength to deal with these new ideas and emotions but would have simply allowed another man to take control of their life. Women should not only be powerful but also beautiful and independent.
The author states “There would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature” (Chopin). Mrs. Louise Mallard did not want to submit to the oppressor, who in this case, was Mr. Mallard. She expected to settle alone decisions and might not want to take orders from her life partner. She was forced to encounter that path since Mr. Mallard controlled her. When she found out that Mr. Mallard was dead, she felt free from the male abuse that she had been a setback of since the day she and her Mr. Mallard were married.