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The Story of an Hour

by Kate Chopin

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How is life "happening" to Mrs. Mallard in the first four paragraphs of "The Story of an Hour"?

Quick answer:

Mrs. Mallard's heart trouble controls her life, and therefore she is not in control of her life.

Expert Answers

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The first four paragraphs of Chopin's "The Story of an Hour", depict Mrs. Mallard (the protagonist) depicts that she is not in control of her life.

In the first paragraph it is stated that Mrs. Mallard has heart trouble. This could lead a reader to assume that people are very aware of this issue and take the most care in dealing with her. What this says is that, because of her condition, Mrs. Mallard cannot do the things a completely healthy person can do. Her heart trouble controls her life.

This idea is supported by the fact that her sister, Josephine, of the death of Mr. Mallard, she told her in "veiled hints that revealed in half concealing." This shows the reader that, again, her heart trouble is controlling her life.

After hearing of her husband's death, Mrs. Mallard reacts with a "paralyzed inability." She, again, has no control over what is happening to her and her emotions.

In the forth paragraph, Mrs. Mallard sinks into a chair "pressed down by a physical exhaustion that haunted her body and seemed to reach into her soul." Again, she is unable to fight against the force pressing her down.

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