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The Story of an Hour

by Kate Chopin
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How might Mr. Mallard describe his marriage in "The Story of an Hour"?

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In Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour ,” Mr. Mallard would likely describe his marriage as happy and satisfying, for he would have no real reason to think otherwise. After all, his wife admits to herself that his hands have always been kind and tender towards her,...

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In Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour,” Mr. Mallard would likely describe his marriage as happy and satisfying, for he would have no real reason to think otherwise. After all, his wife admits to herself that his hands have always been kind and tender towards her, and his face has always been filled with love.

What’s more, Mrs. Mallard does love her husband, at least sometimes. Other times she has not, but she likely never showed that. She has been the obedient wife, the keeper of their home. Her husband would have no reason to expect that she ever thought anything else, and indeed, Mrs. Mallard has not realized it either until she believes her husband to be dead. Then a world of freedom opens up before her that she has never thought of. She can live for herself now instead of for her husband. This implies, of course, that Mrs. Mallard has been living for her husband. Mr. Mallard likely would not have thought of it in those terms, but his marriage would certainly have been comfortable for him with such a wife.

Indeed, Mr. Mallard likely never learns of any of his wife’s reactions to his supposed death, for the moment he walks through the door, very much alive, Mrs. Mallard’s heart gives out, and she falls down dead. The doctor says she has died of a “joy that kills.” Mr. Mallard has no reason to think otherwise, and therefore, his memories cling to his happy marriage even in his grief.

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