The Story of an Hour Questions and Answers
by Kate Chopin

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Is there any evidence of Mrs. Mallard's husband’s abuse?   

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Lorna Stowers eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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While never specifically stated, one can only assume that Mrs. Mallard ( from Kate Chopin's short story "The Story of an Hour") suffers mental, and perhaps physical, abuse from her husband Brently based upon the information provided by the third-person omniscient narrator.

The most poignant quote from the story which supports her husband's oppressive nature and possible abuse (either mental or physical) is the following:

She was young, with a fair, calm face, whose lines bespoke repression and even a certain strength.

Mrs. Mallard is a young woman. What proves her repression is the description of her face: lines which spoke of the repression she faces in life. She, being young, seems to have prematurely aged because of the repressive nature of her relationship with Brently.

Another way that one could justify a hypothesis of abuse could be Mrs. Mallard's reaction to her husbands "death." She is not as heart-broken as one would expect once given the news. Instead, after a short time in her bedroom, Mrs. Mallard emerges (after whispering aloud "Free! Body and soul free!") to descend the stairs "like a goddess of Victory." Only a woman who has been so abused would be so happy to hear of her husband's death.

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