Where do you think Brently Mallard is during the short period of time that transpires in "The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin?Where do you think Brently Mallard is during the short period of time...

Where do you think Brently Mallard is during the short period of time that transpires in "The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin?

Where do you think Brently Mallard is during the short period of time that transpires in "The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin?

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bullgatortail eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When Brently Mallard is first seen in the final lines of Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour," he announced that he was nowhere near the tragic train disaster of which he was a supposed victim. In fact, he knew nothing of the accident. It must have been normal for Mallard to commute to work--or travel for short periods--so it was apparently not surprising for his name to be "leading the list of killed." We can assume that he must have been away for at least a few hours and decided to return home by some other means besides the railroad (or possibly at a different time); and we know that he had been away from home (possibly for a day or more) because of his appearance--

a little travel-stained, composedly carrying his grip-sack and umbrella. 

Reading between the lines, I have always assumed that Brently Mallard was on his way home from work (or from a short business-related trip).

 

M.P. Ossa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In a previous question many reasons for Mr. Mallard's whereabouts were suggested, but my personal opinion is very similar to #5. However, I would add something saucy and dramatic since we never really get a taste of Mr. Mallard's life, nor his feelings toward his wife.  At first it is tempting to think that he may have been "paying a visit" to another lady somewhere in the city. However, this is unlikely because we can deduct from his support of Mrs. Mallard that he may love her after all. Like #5 says, he was carrying an umbrella and was stained a bit. This could mean that either he was late at work and had to start walking home, or he simply missed the train, got a cab a hansom cab, and ended up getting home that way. However, also agreeing with another post, his location does not add nor take away from the story. It simply goes to prove that Mrs. Mallard enjoys it a lot when her husband is NOT home.

pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

I don't really think it matters.  I don't think that there's anything suspicious about his not being on the train, either since his business could have been concluded a little sooner than expected.  Maybe he got a ride with a friend.  But really, I don't think it matters because what's really important is simply that she thought he was dead but he really wasn't.

I suppose that you could argue that he was off having an affair and that her unhappiness with him is based on her suspicions about that, but I don't think it's important to the story.  I think that the main point of the story is made just as well if he has an innocent reason for not being on that train.

mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Since Bentley Mallard is "a little travel-stained," it is possible that he hired a carriage to carry him home.  Since roads were not paved as today, those who rode in horse-drawn carriages were often dusty, at least, when they arrived at their destinations.  A prominent citizen such as Mr. Mallard would certainly be a man to become easily impatient.  So, if the train were delayed, he may have hired a carriage.

jskriv | Student

Why would he have taken a different means of transportation though? It seems sketchy to me.

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The Story of an Hour

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