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"The Story of an Hour" Character Analysis of Loiuse Mallard

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Hannah Radney
Professor Andrew J. DiNicola
English 1102
July 22, 2014
Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour”: Character Analysis of Louise Mallard
Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” (1894) is a fictional short story presumably set in America in the late 19th century. Chopin’s story is a description of an hour in the life of Louise Mallard, the protagonist in the story. The subject of the story is the transformation of Louise Mallard after she learns about the supposed death of her husband, Brently Mallard; what she thinks and how she feels as she is alone and contemplates self-assertion for the first time. (Koloski)
Chopin first introduces the reader to the main character as only Mrs. Mallard. Given the time period of the story, Chopin directs the reader to the conclusion that Mrs. Mallard has no identity of her own. This reference to her as only by her husband’s last name foreshadows how marriage represses Mrs. Mallard and realistically like many women of this time in history. The virtuous wife, in Mrs. Mallard’s world, accepts the idea that her husband has a right to impose a private will upon her. (Jamil)
During the time period in which the story takes place, married women are in a subservient role to their husbands under the “femme covert laws.” “Covert refers to a woman’s legal status after marriage: legally upon marriage, the husband and wife were treated as one entity. In essence, the wife’s separate legal existence disappeared as far as property.” (Lewis 1) A married woman’s very being is under her husband’s control. These laws and restrictions society places upon women in that day helps the reader better understand why Mrs. Mallard feels so repressed. It is the institution of marriage and its restrictions for both men and women that Mrs. Mallard finds oppressive and not Brently Mallard himself. She does at times love him.
Chopin describes Mrs.…...

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