Of Love and Freedom: the Use of Character in Essay

This essay has a total of 561 words and 3 pages.

Of Love and Freedom: the Use of Character in

In Kate Chopin's short story, "The Story of an Hour", the author shows us the response of
a young woman to her husband's presumed death. Before the news, the widow, Mrs. Mallard,
felt trapped in a situation she found to be inescapable. Her marriage made her feel as
though her will wasn't really her own, that she wasn't really free. However, when the news
of her husband's death reaches her, she finally begins to feel that she has a chance to be

During her mingled exaltation and grief, it occurred to her that "[there] would be no
powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they
have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature" (189). Although he only
appears for a brief moment at the end of the story, we learn about the character of
Brently Mallard very vividly through the reaction of his wife to his apparent death.
Despite her husband's kind and loving nature towards her, he most likely treated her as
though a father would a little girl because he believed it would be in her best interests.
"A kind intention or a cruel intention made the act seem no less a crime..." (189).

We learn from the actions of the rest of the characters, including Mrs. Mallard, the main
character, exactly who each one is. In fact, the supporting characters of Josephine and
Richards seem to have no idea of what really is going on with Mrs. Mallard. They see her
as a widow grieving herself to the point of illness. When she dies, they don't see it as a
death in reaction to some great disappointment, they see it as "joy that kills" (190). In
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