Mrs: Marriage and Mrs. Mallard Essay

Submitted By Sophia-Turnbough
Words: 1152
Pages: 5

Sophia Turnbough
C. Smith-Instructor
English 101
December 9, 2013
Literary Analysis Final
Mrs. Mallard’s Emotions Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” is a short story that brings self-assertion, love, guilt, and death all during the span of a life-altering ironic hour. Although happily married to Mr. Brently Mallard, Mrs. Louise Mallard was living in the patriarchal struggles of the nineteenth century. For an independent woman, this may bring slight unhappiness. Throughout this symbolic story, Mrs. Mallard feels a range of emotions firstly grief and ending in joy. In the beginning of this story, Mrs. Mallard is presented as an emotionally fragile woman and this is why her sister is careful to break the news of her husband’s death to her. Rather than feeling numb as Louise imagines a widow would feel, she cries dramatically. Her violent reaction immediately shows that she is an emotional, demonstrative woman. As a result to her strife, Louise resorts to locking herself in a room upstairs, in order to evaluate her newfound emotions. While she is alone, she begins to realize what her husband’s death means to her. Louise begins to realize that she is now an independent woman, a realization that enlivens and excites her. Mrs. Mallard’s marriage was dull. She was swept up in the acts of her times; she was lost in the shuffle. The conditions of her marriage, which were assumed to be a simplistic, nice one, caused her to think of the potential life that Brently’s death could bring, even throughout her grief. When her husband was alive, she had to live to please him, but only when he dies does she find the freedom to live for herself again. Louise begins to feel guilty for her new thoughts because she did feel love for Brently. Nonetheless, she still continued to tell herself that none of that mattered because she surely cherished too much her long lost independence even more than her love for Brently Mallard. She did truly love him, but her self-assertion meant more to her (Deneau). In “The Story of an Hour”, Louise’s ‘heart trouble’ and the act of death are very representative symbols that add meaning to the story. One of the main symbols that gives Louise so much potency is her ‘heart problem’. In the story, Kate Chopin writes as if it is only a physical condition. However, it is implied that this ‘heart condition’ represents her range of emotions. It indicates the extent to which she feels that marriage has oppressed her. This ‘heart problem’ is a vague label Chopin uses to suggest that this is a problem both within her body and mind and her marriage. In the hour during which Louise believes Brently is dead, her heart beats strongly- showing that her independence is also felt physically. Her heart races and her whole body feels warm. She spreads her arms wide, symbolically welcoming her new life-“Body and soul free!” It is only when Brently returns to their home that her ‘heart trouble’ reappears, the trouble that takes her life. Another main symbol in “The Story of an Hour” is death. Death is a symbol in this story in two ways. The first representation is that the story allowed Louise to explore the feelings beyong the typical grief of loss that one may feel due to a loved one passing. The news of death welcomes Louise’s freedom that this tragedy has brought to her. Ultimately, the fact of death is certain, the only question being whose death. Secondly, death lurks over the Mallard’s house like a constant specter. People are always trying to keep it away. Mr. Mallard’s death in the train accident came to an unexpected shock for everyone. Therefore, the majority of the story features Mrs. Mallard trying to process her husband’s death, only to find that in the end he had cheated death after all. As a result, Louise was soon to reach her fate of shock and succumbed to her own death which in the abstract was more prepared for anyway, due to her ‘heart trouble’ (Jamil). Irony is a literary element that plays an important part