Describe how happiness, loyalty, and love are problematic in “The Story of an Hour.”

In “The Story of an Hour,” happiness, loyalty, and love are problematic in that, while remaining loyal to her husband and even loving him at times, Mrs. Mallard has not been completely happy in her marriage, for she has not been able to live for herself and pursue her individual dreams. Rather, she has always submitted her will to that of her husband.

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In Kate Chopin's “The Story of an Hour,” Mrs. Mallard has remained loyal to her husband throughout their marriage. When she finds out that he has been killed in a railroad accident, she weeps in grief and then goes to her room to be alone for a while.

As she looks out the window, Mrs. Mallard begins to realize something. She is free. She has certainly loved her husband, at least sometimes. He has loved her and been kind to her. But deep down, she has not been completely happy. She has always felt constrained by another's will. It has never been a cruel will; her husband's intentions have been kind. Yet she has lived for him. She has bowed her will to his. Now she does not have to do that any longer.

Mrs. Mallard finally feels that she can “live for herself.” She can choose what she wants to do, where she wants to go, how she wants to spend her days. Her years will now belong to her alone. She will no longer have to answer to anyone else. She now prays for a long life.

For Mrs. Mallard, then, the loyalty of marriage has sometimes brought love, perhaps even some happiness, for her husband seems to have been a good, kind, and caring man, but it has always been problematic because Mrs. Mallard has not been able to live as her own person, pursing her own dreams and embracing the freedom she has longed for without fully realizing it.

Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on February 19, 2021
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