Disease of Marriage in “The Story of an Hour” by Chopin


Mrs. Mallard is the main character in the short story by the title: The Story of an Hour. Some bad news regarding the death of her husband in a train accidents are received. Mrs. Mallard has a heart problem and telling this news to her has to be very tactical. Richard who is a friend to her husband and Josephine- her sister- tell the news to her fearing that she might die on hearing the news due to her health problems. It’s very ironical that the news made her happy instead of shocking her. She claims that she is now free and she will live her life. The husband then comes in and had no idea of the accident. Mrs. Mallard collapses and dies thereafter with the doctors claiming that she died of a heart disease. This paper will seek to analyze Mrs. Mallard and the type of marriage that she has according to the short story ‘The Story of an Hour’ written by Chopin.

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Narrator’s Persona

The short story is written in the third person where the narrator tells the story. Chopin develops the character of Mrs. Mallard in the story and every reader can clearly see the type of person Mrs. Mallard is. He shows the life that women were experiencing during those days when Mrs. Mallard says that she is now free. Women were oppressed by their husbands to the extent that they could celebrate the death of their husbands. The narrator ends the story abruptly by an ironical event where Mrs. Mallard dies of a heart disease not because of the news but she collapses when she sees her husband alive (Chopin & Gilbert 215).

Mrs. Mallard

Mrs. Mallard is the wife of Mr. Mallard. She loves her husband and she obeys all the things that the husband tells her. This can be seen from the story when she claims that she will now be living her own life which means that she was doing what she was being told and not what she wanted herself. Mrs. Mallard is the type of person who is not ready to reveal her inner self to people. When some women are oppressed, they speak their views to their husbands and other people. When she receives the news of the death of her husband, she mourns first and then joy fills her soul (Chopin & Gilbert 213). Her option is to close herself into a room and experience the joy in absence of Josephine and Richard. The reader is not sure if she wept genuinely or was just acting in front of Richard and benedict. She is young and ready to live a long life regardless of the heart problem. However, she is very emotional. She has higher hopes when she receives the news of the death of the husband but her emotions end her life when the husband enters the house.

Type of Marriage

The type of marriage of Mrs. Mallard is the oppressive marriage where the husband has authority over the wife. The wife has no option other than obey all the commands that the husband gives. She is not proud of the marriage because she is not free. This is the reason as to why she can celebrate the death of her husband.

Mrs. Mallard’s Behavior

Mrs. Mallard wishes that she was free of the oppression in her marriage life but she has no way out. Her marriage is the type that existed during those times and this really blocked her ways. Her inner feelings are only known to her because revealing them would disregard her as an ideal wife of those times. She closes herself in a room to experience the joy of the life that she will lead after the death of her husband (Chopin & Gilbert 213). To a certain extent, her behavior is quite plausible.


Chopin’s story ‘The Story of an Hour’ tells of Mrs. Mallard who has a heart problem. She receives the news of the death of her husband and first weeps and is then filled with joy. The story is written in third person where the narrator portrays the character of Mrs. Mallard in a way that the reader identifies with her. Mrs. Mallard is the type of person whose inside is not known by anyone else except her. Her marriage is oppressive and she has to obey the husband’s commands. She dies of her emotions when her husband appears after the news that he was dead.

Works Cited

Chopin, Kate., & Gilbert, Sandra. M. The Awakening and Selected Stories. New York: Penguin Classics, 2003.

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