Marriage In Mrs. Mallard's The Story Of An Hour

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The Princess Bride’s tongue-tied Impressive Clergyman slowly and monotonously paints a picture of marriage, “Mawage. Mawage is wot bwings us togeder tooday. Mawage, that bwessed awangment, that dweam wifin a dweam... And wuv, tru wuv, will fowow you foweva.” Is marriage the beginning of a picture to be painted beautifully, or simply a canvas restricted by a frame? Young Mrs. Mallard has just heard the tragic news of her husband’s sudden, unexpected death. Paralyzed by the news, she sobs and runs to her room…alone. In her grief, she is progressively comforted by the gradual realization that her husband’s death may not be a picture shattered by tragedy, but a newly opened canvas, her canvas - a canvas unframed and free. In “The Story of an Hour,” …show more content…
Mrs. Mallard’s appearance is “…young, with a fair, calm face, whose lines bespoke repression and even certain strength” (Chopin, 115). Using the words “young” with “lines” on her face to describe Mrs. Mallard encourages the reader to believe she is aged beyond her years, as young faces are not worn with lines. Lines, deeper than mere wrinkles, mark time and challenge as opposed to freshness of youth. Chopin also describes that her face “bespoke repression” and “certain strength” indicating that Mrs. Mallard’s days are long, unfulfilled, and require her to muster strength to survive. The reader can believe that Mrs. Mallard maintains a state of endurance rather than a state of marital bliss. Simply enduring marriage led her to ponder death. The reader is told that Mrs. Mallard once prayed for her life to be short: “She breathed a quick prayer that life might be long. It was only yesterday she had thought with a shudder that life might be long” (117). “Yesterday” Mr. Mallard was alive and his wife “shudder[ed]” at the thought of living a long life. On the day of his death, her prayer changes to hope “that life might be long.” The narrator strongly suggests that Mr. Mallard’s death causes his wife to anticipate life without him, rather than dread life with him. This is a strong indication that she felt trapped by marriage, and looked to death as her escape. The reader later …show more content…
Mallard’s spoken words and detailed descriptions of her new affect, Chopin is able to demonstrate that marriage can be repressive. Mrs. Mallard spent time alone in the bedroom pondering the effects of her husband’s sudden death. Eventually, she verbally reacts to the death of Mr. Mallard as she whispers “over and over under her breath: Free, free, free…Free! Body and soul free!” (116). “Free” is not a word that a grieving widow uses within an hour of her husband’s unexpected death. Repeating the word tells the reader that she is attempting to convince herself that her freedom is real. Enamored by the expression and bathing in reflection, she repeats the phrase. Freedom of “body and soul” indicates she was wholly, mentally and physically, encased by marital responsibility. By whispering, Mrs. Mallard realizes that her marriage to Mr. Brantley Mallard still maintains control over her actions, as she is a grieving widow and only she can enjoy her new-found freedom at this point. No one must know that she views her husband death as liberating. Upon leaving her room, she reveals her new zest for life. The reader is told that: “Louise…was feverish with triumph in her eyes…[carrying] herself unwittingly like a goddess of Victory. (116,117) “Louise” is Mrs. Mallard’s name. For most of the story she is bound by marriage to use Mr. Mallard’s name, which represents a loss of individual identity. Chopin supports this picture by using the words “triumph” and “goddess of

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