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The Story of an Hour

by Kate Chopin
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Was Mr. Mallard an unloving husband in "The Story of an Hour"?

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Mr. Mallard was a very loving husband in “The Story of an Hour,” as we are told that he “had never looked save with love” upon Louise.

At the same time, however, one must also recognize that Louise's reaction to what she thinks is her husband's death is...

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Mr. Mallard was a very loving husband in “The Story of an Hour,” as we are told that he “had never looked save with love” upon Louise.

At the same time, however, one must also recognize that Louise's reaction to what she thinks is her husband's death is indeed related to her married life with him. In other words, her joy at the news of Brently's death is a direct response to the kind of life they had.

Mr. Mallard may well have been a loving husband, but in keeping with the social norms of the time, he stifled Louise, preventing her from leading an independent life away from the home. Life with Brently was repressive, and so his apparent death has suddenly lifted an enormous burden from Louise's shoulders. For the first time since she got married, new vistas of opportunity have suddenly opened up to her.

Under the circumstances, it's unsurprising that she should feel overwhelmed with joy. Nor is it unsurprising that when she finds out that Brently didn't die after all, she drops down dead from a massive heart attack.

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