Louise Mallard Character Analysis

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In “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin, Louise Mallard is an intricate character with a multi-faceted personality. She is a woman who has recently been informed of her husband’s sudden passing. Distraught by this information, she locks herself in her room and begins to contemplate the nature of her relationship with her late husband. Louise soon realizes that without him she can live the life that she had been deprived of whilst living in the shadow of her spouse and is overcome with joy. But to her dismay, when she finally goes downstairs to flaunt her newfound independence, she is greeted by the sight of her very much alive husband and drops dead. Louise Mallard is a young white lady with a slender figure, calm face, and heart trouble. …show more content…
Like every great protagonist, she is made up of both positive and negative characteristics. One of the most prominently positive characteristics showcased by her is her emotional strength. In “The Story of an Hour”, she is described as having a “certain strength” (Chopin, paragraph 8). She has been oppressed in her marriage for years and takes the death of her husband as a blessing rather than a curse. Louise’s life was centred around her husband for the majority of her adulthood and instead of giving up because he is gone, she chooses to thrive and wishes for a prosperous life. On the contrary, the negative characteristic that affects Louise Mallard the most is how weak-willed she is. This trait is the result of many years of allowing her husband to control her and her society’s requirement that women should be submissive to men. When thinking of the outcomes of her husband’s death, she lets herself become completely infatuated with the idea of being a widow. Other than her first initial attempt to stop these thoughts, Louise shows no resistance to being happy with the years she will now spend alone. In fact, “she opened and spread her arms out to them in welcome” (Chopin, paragraph 13). This “weak will” and lack of ability to restrain herself from becoming too invested in the idea of being a widow are what also will lead to her death. Evidently, Louise Mallard is made up of both positive and negative …show more content…
Some could even say that she showed signs of early feminism in a time where the word did not exist and females were not considered independent people. The relationship between Louise and her husband was not uncommon for couples during the late 1800’s. Her emotional journey of sixty-minutes spoke words about equality that many women were afraid to say until many years later. Her death was symbolic in the sense that it showed that women who had thoughts about equality among sexes and new ideas on commitment were often subjects of cruel fate because of the backlash from society. Louise is a beautifully crafted character equipped with all the components of a good protagonist. She is not perfect, but her flaws are what make her compelling and realistic to readers. Although it is clear that Chopin’s story is a work of fiction, Louise Mallard’s struggles were and still remain a reality for women

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