A Selfish Wife and a Selfish Death
Louise Mallard, the protagonist of Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour,” is a nineteenth century housewife who responds dramatically to a series of life changing events that happen to her and her husband. Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” follows Louise Mallard over the course of an hour, at the beginning of which she faces the realization that her husband is a victim of a railroad disaster. Throughout the course of the story, Mrs. Mallard spends the majority of the time focusing on how this affects her own life, discovering her new found freedoms and lack of strong emotion for the death of her husband. In the end though, a crushing blow is delivered when it turns out her husband had not, in fact, boarded the train before it departed and the accident took place. It is through these events, that Mrs. Mallard’s emotions and personal thoughts are able to be examined thoroughly. By focusing on her reaction to the news of Mr. Mallard’s death, her emotions and thoughts as she sits alone in her room, and her final reaction when she discovers her husband is alive, it is evident that Mrs. Mallard is a selfish, conceited, and egotistical wife who cares nothing other than how she benefits from the death of her late husband.
When Mrs. Mallard hears the news of her husband’s death, she does not react as most women would. She weeps at once and suddenly, until “the storm of grief had spent itself” (Chopin 197). The fact that it describes her despair as a “storm” signifies that it was fierce, however it was brief. It does not seem like she spent much time in sorrow over her husband’s death. Immediately after her brief outburst, Mrs. Mallard went to her room alone, and “would have no one follow her” (Chopin 197). That she wanted to be alone and would not allow anyone to come with her shows her concern only for herself, she doesn’t care about the other people’s emotion or that they are there for her, she only wants to take advantage of the...
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