The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin

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Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour" Does Chopin's characterization of Mrs. Mallard justify the story's unexpected and ironic climax?

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As mentioned, there is foreshadowing that hints at Mrs. Mallard's terrible repression which has enfeebled her spirit to the point that her health has been impaired.  In the opening sentence,

Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with a heart trouble,[not "heart trouble"] great care was taken to break to her...the news of her husband's death,

the indications are that Mrs. Mallard suffers from the imprisonment of the spirit that the femme covert  laws of the Victorian Age impose upon her.  This is why she is almost afraid to think that she is going to now possess "self-assertion." [A sob comes from her and she whispers "Free!  Body and soul free!"]  When this independence is suddenly and again removed, the quelching of her very spirit that has been set free kills her.

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I would approach this question more from the shock factor of her joy at her husband's death. To this I would offer that the description of her as a feeble woman is, to me, an attempt from Chopin to lead us to believe that Mrs. Mallard is a typical, subservient wife. This being said, I also feel that Chopin somehow wants us to assume that subservient behavior also implies love. All these conflicting ideas are often seen in your typical Victorian literature prototypes, and I strongly believe that Chopin used these expected notions to her favor.

When we see that this seemingly devoted, feeble, well-behaved woman is suddenly happy when she hears the news of her husband's death is the real moment when the shock factor is introduced. To me, that is the "surprising" event. Her...

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