‘The story of an Hour : Character sketch of Louise Mallard

Echoes


The Story of an Hour : by Kate Chopin

Character Sketch of Louise Mallard


Mrs. Louise Mallard is the main protagonist of the story, The Story of an Hour”.  


        Chopin describes Louise as “Young, with a fair, calm face, whose lines bespoke repression and even a certain strength.”


The above line from the text indicates Louise as

◆ A woman  who faces repression and trapped in her marriage.

◆ A woman with an inner strength and self assertion.



  • A Woman trapped in her marriage


Mrs. Mallard was an unhappy woman trapped in an unhappy marriage. Unable to free herself from her relationship with Brently, she endured it. Louise has forced herself to submit to the will of her husband because society expects such behaviour.

       At the news of her husband’s death, though she cried ” at once with sudden wild abandonment,” not for a moment she wanted him back. She was so dominated and enslaved that all “she saw beyond that bitter moment a long procession of years that would belong to her absolutely.”      



  • A Strong and Self – Asserting Woman

        At the beginning of the story Mrs. Mallard was identified as only a wife and named as Mrs. Mallard , but her true identity as a strong woman  revealed when she got the news of her husband’s death. When she learned of Brently’s death ,she became ‘Louise’, a woman aware of her own desires, enjoying the prospect of being free from the confines of repressive marriage. 

  “free! Body and Soul free!” 

    This shows the change that happened in the perception of life in Mrs. Mallard’s mind. 


    She now realised that ” there would be no powerful  will bending hers” she stretched her hands to welcome the new life of freedom as she said that she will have no one to live for but herself.


    Therefore, she emerged from her room “like a  goddess of Victory” with “a feverish triumph in her eyes”. She had won back her individuality and freedom. 

  • Suffered from heart disease –

  ” Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with a heart trouble”, this indicates the extent of repression in her marriage. Here ‘heart trouble’ suggests that this trouble is both physical as well as emotional, a problem within her body as well as within her marriage with Brently. When Louise learned that Brently is dead, her heart beats fast and the ” coursing blood warmed and relaxed every inch of her body”. 

      But as soon as Brently walked in , her ‘heart trouble’ reappeared and the feeling of losing her newfound freedom and return to her married life also appeared alongside. This time time her trouble is so acute that it killed her . 

  •   Emotional and demonstrative woman


     When Josephine announced the news of death of Mr. Mallard, Louise wept at once, suddenly and hysterically, her dramatic expression rather than feeling numb like any other woman, shows that she is very demonstrative and emotional. 


      Although she felt confined in her marriage yet she loved her husband – “sometime”, she was unsure whether or not they had been happily married. 


        She knew that when she would see ” the kind ,tender hands folded in death ” she would weep again. This shows that she is not cruel but emotional . When she was alone in her room imagining her future life without her husband, her love for her husband became meaningless as compared to her self assertion and new found freedom. 

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