Selfish Mrs. Mallard in The Story of an Hour
Kate Chopin’s story, "The Story of an Hour," may seem to be about Mrs. Mallard’s unexpected and ironic reactions to the news of her husband’s untimely death due to a railroad disaster. At least that’s what I thought when I read the story. It seemed to me that she led a normal life with a normal marriage. She had a stable home life with a kind, loving husband who cared for her. She seemed to love him, sometimes. She had some kind of "heart trouble" (Chopin 25) that didn’t really affect her physically, until the very end. I thought Mrs. Mallard would have been saddened and filled with grief for an adequate period of time after her spouse died, but her grief passed quickly, and she embraced a new life that she seemed to be content with. Therefore I believe there is good evidence that Mrs. Mallard was an ungrateful woman who did not appreciate her husband or his love for her. That evidence is found in her selfish behavior after the death of her husband, Brently Mallard.
Mrs. Mallard’s reaction to the sad news was natural, but her time spent to overcome her melancholy feelings passed too rapidly. All of a sudden she was eager to start her widowed life. Immediately after she heard the sad news of her husband’s death, "She wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment, in her sister’s arms" (Chopin 25). This is acceptable and understandable to me because I feel that anyone who had just lost his/her spouse would want to be comforted by a close family member. The story then reads, "When the storm of grief had spent itself she went away to her room alone. She would have no one follow her" (Chopin 25). I found it to be odd that she would just get up and head straight for her room. The time of grief could not have been for more than an hour, at the most. It probably did not last more than fifteen or twenty minutes. One of my observations that I want to point out is that the author says she went away to her room alone. Why couldn’t it be to their room? This may be an example of Mrs. Mallard being a selfish person, a bit possessive that is.
I think Mrs. Mallard had always wanted a life of her own. It was like a secret she kept to herself. However, she couldn’t have that life to herself with her husband around. A section of the story describes the scene and events that take place when Mrs. Mallard is in her room alone. She sobs occasionally and allows the grief to pass as she embraces the new beginning of her life. I believe her husband loved her but I think that her husband’s death opened a door to a new life for her that she had hoped for. She sees a view from the window that maybe symbolizes what she wanted in this new life of hers. The following passage describes it:
There was something coming to her...