Mrs. Mallard:Between the Lines
Kate Chopin's "Story of an Hour" proves to be a timeless short story. Although this story was written in the nineteenth century, it is still reflective and relevant of today's society. It is still popular in many high schools and college classrooms. A critical examination of this piece of literature can be done using character analysis. This is an important tool in analyzing the meanings "between the lines" in this story. Mrs. Mallard is the main character and therefore plays the most important role in the story. This makes it necessary to examine her character in order to gain insights into the story's meaning. Several key elements relating to her personality surface in the story. These elements give insights into her feelings and her thoughts. The character analysis shows Mrs. Mallard is portrayed as insensitive, selfish and a wishful thinker.
The first element gives indications that Mrs. Mallard is insensitive. Her actions give evidence of her thoughts. She locks herself in her room and proceeds to look out the window. The story mentions "a dull stare" (450). This action proves to be significant because it gives hints that there is no emotion. After all, she just lost her husband. As she is staring out the window, she begins to repeat a thought to herself. She is "free, free, free" (450). This is not a normal response that would be expected. A normal response would be to feel alone. Most people after losing
a spouse do not think they are free. Instead she begins to contemplate this feeling of freedom. The story describes "A monstrous joy that held her" (450).This seems insensitive. Who would have a monstrous joy after losing
a spouse? This man provided for her. Does she have no sorrow? She does cry, but only for a short while "she wept at once, with sudden abandonment in her sister's arms"(450). One does not mourn for a short time after losing
a husband. Her reactions to his death are insensitive.
The second element of her personality to be reveled is her selfishness. She sits in a chair to...