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Essay on the Selfish Mrs. Mallard in Kate Chopin's The Story of an Hour

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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 t...


... middle of paper ...


...ishness that got its just reward?

Work Cited

Chopin, Kate. "The Story of an Hour." The Harper Anthology of Fiction. Ed. Sylvan Barnet. New York: HarperCollins, 1991.

Works Consulted

Bender, Bert. "Kate Chopin." Short Story Criticism. Ed. Thomas Votteler. Vol. 8. Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 1991. 20 vols.

Ewell, Barbara C. "Kate Chopin." Short Story Criticism. Ed. Thomas Votteler. Vol. 8. Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 1991. 20 vols.

Magill, Frank N., ed. Critical Survey of Short Fiction. Revised ed. Vol. 2. Pasadena: Salem Press, 1993. 7 vols.

Seyersted, Per. "Kate Chopin." Twentieth Century Literary Criticism. Eds. James E. Person, Jr. and Dennis Poupard. Vol. 14. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1984. 60 vols.

Skaggs, Peggy. "Kate Chopin." Short Story Criticism. Ed. Thomas Votteler. Vol. 8. Detroit: Gale Research Inc., 1991. 20 vols.


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