"Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin - Character

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A dynamic character is a major character in a work of fiction that encounters conflict and is changed by it. In “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin, the emotional pattern and thought process of Louise Mallard after she is informed of her husband’s death are explored. Over the course of the hour in which the story takes place Louise has a realization about the constraints she feels in her life and in her marriage. By delineating Louise as a flat and dynamic character, Chopin is able to convey her theme that real freedom is found in death.

Over the course of the story, all the characters are left as fairly flat and undeveloped. Louise is simply described as a young woman with “a fair, clam face whose lines bespoke repression and even a certain strength” (paragraph 8) and that was suffering from a heart condition. When the death of her husband, Brently, is revealed her immediate reaction was that of despair. After weeping suddenly with “wild abandonment,” Louise retreated to her room in order to collapse in solitude (paragraph 3 and 4). The tragic realization and emotional exhaustion eventually leads Louise to a realization of freedom. By whispering “free, free, free!” (paragraph 11) under her breath and not over thinking the feeling she had, Louise was able to embrace the joy with open arms she discovered in her newfound freedom. Although she knew that she would be torn apart at the sight of “the face that had never looked save with love upon her” (paragraph 12) as a corpse, Louise welcomed the oncoming years spent in devotion to her own desires. This shift in position on death motivates Louise to realize that Brently’s death should not be dwelled on with sorrow.

Motivation is a sufficient reason for a character to act the way they do. Louise’s motivation for living a liberated life comes through the open window. Through nature, Chopin provides Louise with purpose. For example, while being described, the upstairs room is left with the simplistic depiction...
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