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

Decent Essays
At the beginning of The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin, Mrs. Mallard is notified by her sister Josephine and her husband’s friend, Richards, that Mr. Brentley Mallard, her husband has been killed in a train accident. She takes the news as anyone would, with tears, but as the story progresses and Mrs. Mallard isolates herself from prying eyes, she discovers joy at the thought of a long life lived beyond the reach of her doting, yet oppressive husband. Her triumphant self-possession is defeated, however, when she sees her husband is actually alive causing her death. Mrs. Mallard’s transformation from a repressed, sickly wife to a free, independent woman is caused by the realization that her marriage and her husband will no longer dictate her …show more content…
Mallard is sickly, frail, and repressed. Her “heart trouble” is a good example of her illness (Chopin). This is the very first phrase used to describe Mrs. Mallard. It suggests that she is ill, though her sickness is not necessarily physical but comes from a feeling of repression. Her heart is troubled meaning her mind and soul struggle under the weight of what is expected of her as a married woman. Chopin’s next description of Mrs. Mallard states, “She was young, with a fair, calm face, whose lines bespoke repression and even a certain strength.” This quote quite directly points the reader to “repression” in Mrs. Mallard through the lines on her face. These lines only exist because she feels controlled by outside forces, and when she is controlled by others, she does not control herself, thus showing her initial …show more content…
Mallard’s change from sickly repression to confident independence resulted from her marriage and husband no longer being in control. This independence is best represented in Mrs. Mallard’s own speech, when she whispers to herself, "free, free, free!" (Chopin). When Mrs. Mallard describes herself as “free,” she is indicating that she was previously controlled. The only change from the moment she was controlled to this moment of freedom is her husband’s reported death, so it is safe to infer that her husband was the one controlling her, and that with his death, she is finally free. When Mrs. Mallard dies at the end, however, the doctors assume it is from “joy that kills” (Chopin). This is an example of dramatic irony because the reader knows it wasn’t joy at seeing her husband alive that killed Mrs. Mallard but disappointment at seeing that he’s not dead. In this moment she realizes has lost her freedom from her husband and marriage. It was the lack of these, her husband and marriage, that allowed her to feel free, changing from repressed to independent, and it is their reappearance that returns her to such repression that she dies because of it.
In The Story of an Hour, Mrs. Mallard begins as a stifled wife but transforms into an independent woman. Today, women continue to struggle for equality with men. They feel oppressed by a system that ignores their rational reasons for change in order to stick to a male-dominated belief in tradition. Mrs. Mallard’s dream of independence

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