The Story Of An Hour Character Analysis

Subject: Literature
Type: Analytical Essay
Pages: 3
Word count: 837
Topics: Book, The Story Of An Hour


“Free, free, free!” These are the words expressed by Mrs. Louise Mallard, the protagonist of the novel “The Story of an Hour”, after discovering the passing of her husband. After hearing the news of her husband’s death, Mrs. Mallard is distraught, “she wept at once”, but then she requires time to comprehend what this means for her in the sense of freedom. It alters her feelings. “The story of an Hour” exploits Mrs. Mallard’s response to her husband’s death to demonstrate how women in the 19th century experienced suppression in marriage.

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The role of characters in The Story Of An Hour

“The story of an Hour” introduces the leading character, Mrs. Louise Mallard. She was a lady “afflicted with heart trouble”. The woman suffered not only from the illness, but also from misery in her marriage. She felt caught and depressed in her marriage, but she never spoke out about it. She had never been capable of defending herself or breaking free from the trap of her marriage, so the tragic news of her husband’s death undoubtedly came as an immense relief to her. After an emotional moment of sorrow, Mrs. Mallard experienced life differently. In the present circumstances she is “body and soul free” and not imprisoned or dominated by her husband.

Mr. Brantley Mallard, Mrs. Louise’s husband, was believed to have died in the train crash. He was allegedly a pleasant man who appreciated Mrs. Mallard, and she was aware of this, as he “never looked save with love upon her”. This would sincerely mean that he never considered her in any other way than with affection or care. He genuinely worried about her and performed what he believed was best for her. Mrs. Mallard in addition harbored some feelings for him, but only “sometimes”. This is because there was one significant nuance in their marriage. Mrs. Mallard felt that she had to live merely for him, because her husband blindly forced his personal desires on her. Love ceased to mean something beautiful for her, because “What could love…count for in the face of this possession of self-assertion which she suddenly recognized as the strongest impulse of her being”. The woman realized that having power over one’s own desires is an emotion that means much more than love, because the love she experienced in her marriage to her husband was for her a good deal akin to slavery. Even though her husband loved her, she felt no remorse for the joyous emotions she began to feel after his death. She may have cherished him, but she obviously valued her feelings of independence and self-responsibility much more. At the end of the story, someone unlocked the front door, and “It was Brantley Mallard who entered”. Mr. Brantley turned out to be alive and unharmed. Mrs. Mallard’s willingness to experience an extended life performs an ironic turn when she inevitably discovers that her man is not indeed dead, but standing alive in the doorway. All Mrs. Mallard’s fantastic dreams and thoughts about her newfound freedom are immediately shattered from her mind. Her sister screams, her husband’s friend tries to keep her husband away from her, but it is extremely late. Mrs. Mallard dies.

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“When the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease—of joy that kills” since no one ever thought that a woman could feel deprived of the right to live her own life because of the perception of the concept of marriage. They concluded that the change from such terrible grief to such deep joy was too much for her tender heart. None of the doctors will ever find out what emotions Mrs. Mallard really felt towards her husband and how liberated she felt at the moment when she thought he had passed away forever. Severe shock, deep frustration and her fragile heart — all these overwhelming things were the ultimate reason that the woman’s heart could not withstand the events that took place. No one will ever know what emotional fluctuations Mrs. Mallard experienced in just one hour of her life. In just one hour, Mrs. Mallard gained the freedom she so desperately wanted and then lost it in a flash. Her death symbolized the end of a suppressed life, but doctors comprehended it as a deep affection for her husband. It is ironic that a woman receives her death when she is only just beginning to “live”. Having tasted this incredible moment of freedom, she cannot return to that depressed state when she lives not for herself.


Mrs. Mallard is the lead character of “The Story of an Hour”, the woman’s mental state changes vividly over the course of the plot. At the start she suffers sorrow when she finds out about the death of her husband, later she experiences some happiness and begins to sincerely enjoy her life, and finally, because of her disillusionment, she dies a spectacular death. The other characters are not so significant as they are constant in their actions and simple in their souls.

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