Mrs. Mallard's Character in The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin

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Socrates, a Greek philosopher once said: "Each one must know himself." Unfortunately, most of us are not aware of our true character. Social conventions are the main cause making us repress what we really think and feel. Only when unexpected events happen, we do have an opportunity to take a close look at our hidden "self.""The Story of An Hour" by Kate Chopin reflects the dramatic development process of Mrs.Mallard's character through the death of her husband; it demonstrates that the true identity cannot be sheltered forever. At the beginning of the story, the author describes Mrs.Mallard as a woman having the distinctive trait of self-assertion which is constrained by her marriage. She seems to be the "victim" of an…show more content…
Although "she had loved him--sometimes," she unconsciously does not want to accept blindly the situation of being controlled by her husband. Mrs.Mallard is not a one-dimentional, clone-like woman having an expected, acceptable emotional response for every life condition. Mrs.Mallard's rather uncommon reaction to the news of Mr.Brently Mallard's death logically foreshadows the complete revelation of her suppressed longing for freedom. Being alone in her room "When the storm of grief" is over, she experiences "something coming to her and she was waiting for it, fearfully. What was it? She did not know; it was too subtle and elusive to name." Finally, she recognizes the freedom she has desired for a long time and it overcomes her sorrow: "Free! Body and soul free! She kept whispering." In her soul, the dark clouds are disappearing because she is illuminated. All the memories of her husband are now of the past. She is living in the present. At this point, she is no longer "Mrs.Mallard." She is Louise and is ready to welcome a new horizon of freedom : "Spring days, and summer days, and all sorts of days that would be her own." Overwhelmed with a new sense of herself, she feels as if she was "a goddess of Victory." In just a brief hour, she learns what it is like to be her own person, to live for herself without the force of her husband's will.
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