Individuals read stories and books since they are interested in what is contained in those books and stories. Stories make us love or hate characters, provide us details, and build up to the point where we get the climax. "The Story of an Hour," by Kate Chopin gives us the details all through the story to set up sudden climax of Mrs. Mallard death. For this reason, this essay examines the sympathetic character of Mrs. Mallard as presented by the author in the short story.
After reading this epic short story, I think that Mrs. Mallard qualifies to be a sympathetic character. The author presents her as a protagonist in the short story and this makes her to fit into the sympathetic character category. She is the center of the attention throughout the story as well as a person that all the other characters and the audience revolve around for instance, at the start of the story, when her husband dies, Josephine and Richards, the other characters in the story put aside their individual grief to comfort her. Their initial priority is to relate to her by taking care of her, ensuring that she gets through difficult news of her husband death without herself dying.
Similarly, at the end of the short story, other characters first get behind her and attempt to take care of her, instead of concentrating on their individual feelings about seeing her husband alive and well in the end (Chopin, 45). Any reader will also get behind her and relate to her after reading the story due to the various challenges including her heart trouble that she is going through. By being the protagonist in the story, we easily identify with her and relate to her.
The other reason why she is a protagonist in the story is that she is a victim of suffering. Mrs. Mallard has a heart problem that is hereditary. In addition, together with her husband, they stay in bad neighborhood and this is the reason why Josephine, her sister comes to stay with her when her husband is not around. After hearing the news of her husband death, she becomes heartbroken for a number of weeks. She stays isolated by herself for some weeks.
Her sufferings continue after a terrible hurricane destroys they apartment in New Orleans and this makes her to move back home with her parents. Mrs. Mallard quickly gets over her husband death and she believes that his death is a benefit as demonstrated by the quote, "Free! Body and soul free!," but at the end of short story, Mrs. Mallard becomes shocked after learning that her husband is still alive and she eventually dies (Chopin, 78). Thus, by being a victim of suffering, the audience will ultimately get behind her and relate to her. Marriage should be a happy institution for the couples. However, in the story we realize that marriage is an unhappy institution for her and this is the reason why she dies after realizing that her husband did not die.
Kate Chopin: Five Stories of an Hour. New York, N.Y: Films Media Group, 2005. Internet resource