How would you describe Louise Mallard’s “sentiment” about her marriage?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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At the outset of the story, when she is Mrs. Mallard, it is evident that Louise's sentiment towards her marriage is subtle resentment.  She does not hate her husband, and does not communicate that she is abused or excessively neglected.  It becomes clear that Louise dislikes the fact that marriage has silenced her voice.  There is the sentiment that Louise has lost some of her voice as a result of the social constitution of marriage.  This configuration is one in which there is a responsibility that a woman has to subvert her voice to the male's voice in the marriage.  This is where Louise's sentiment of subtle resentment is evident.

When she finds out that Brently has "died," Louise mourns, as is custom.  She legitimately weeps because she is a widow.  Yet, it is in this where her subtle resentment subsides, giving way to "the joy that kills."  Louise understands the implications of her husband's death and her sentiment towards her being a widow is in stark contrast to her subtle resentment in marriage.  The ending becomes one in which Louise cannot go back to a sentiment of subtle resentment. 

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