The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin

The Story of an Hour book cover
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Is Mrs.Mallard a round or flat character?

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In Kate Chopin’s short story “The Story of an Hour,” Mrs. Mallard is a round character. A round character is one who is developed or goes through a change throughout the story. Mrs. Mallard develops over the course of the short story.

As the story opens, Mrs. Mallard learns that her husband has died in a train accident. The news sets her on a journey of self-discovery. Her initial reaction is not what the reader may expect. She cried in her sister’s arms and then went to her room to be alone. There, she sinks into her chair, “pressed down by a physical exhaustion that haunted her body” until she is able to move on and look out the window. As she absorbs the natural imagery outside, the freedom of the birds, the sky clearing up after a rainstorm, she has the realization that her life is about to be her own. Instead of living for her husband and his needs, she’ll be able to live for herself and make her own decisions.

Her journey ends when she learns that her husband is in fact not dead. The shock leads to her death. The doctor diagnosed it as “the joy that kills”; however, it is more likely that this is her character’s final development as she cannot accept the thought that she will have to return to a subservient life.

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