Character Analysis: The Story of the Hour

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EH 102.020
September 11, 2012
Preliminary Theses: The character of Mrs. Mallard and the imagery used by Kate Chopin represents freedom for Mrs. Mallard, which was important from a cultural viewpoint during a time period when women were considered second class to their male counterparts.

“The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin portrays a woman, Mrs. Louise Mallard, as a frail person initially devastated by the news of her husband’s passing. However, upon contemplation of what life now holds ahead for her, Mrs. Mallard realizes the greatest gift her husband has given her is her independence. Chopin’s imagery detail enables the reader to feel the story coming alive with the details ranging from sight, sound, and even smell. Throughout the story Chopin allows a reader to view the atmosphere as Louise experiences it herself and even though this is a short story the audience is able to be captivated by Chopin’s writing style. Chopin's attitude towards Mrs. Mallard is one of intrigue and admiration. Louise shows spirit in the fact that her husband will not be returning home. To Louise, her newfound strength shows she will survive on her own and be stronger for it. The interpretation of Mrs. Mallard in the opening of “The Story of an Hour” is of a weak woman. Mrs. Mallard has a heart condition which incapacitates her character during the story. When she hears the news of her husband’s death Chopin asserts, “[s]he wept at once, with wild abandonment, in her sister’s arms” (150). This suggests her weakness in that she needed the physical support of her sister’s arms to hold her up. However as the story progresses and she goes upstairs Mrs. Mallard is portrayed as a strong woman; “She was young, with a fair, calm face, whose lines bespoke repression and even a certain strength” explains Chopin (150). With her new found strength Mrs. Mallard becomes Louise; she is no longer referred to by her husband’s name because she is becoming her own person. She is breaking apart...
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