Mallard, Norma Jean’s behavior in Shiloh is observed and reflected by her husband representing a totally different perspective on the issue. This essay will argue that the combination of female point of view represented by Chopin and male point of view from Shiloh allows seeing the full picture of traditional patriarchal family relationships.
Mrs. Mallard, the main character of The Story of an Hour, perceived the news about her husband’s death with tears. However, the picture changes quickly when she goes to her room and reflects on her feelings. First she experiences emptiness and indifference. step by step she recognizes her real feelings in her heart. She finds herself full of “monstrous joy” and feeling of freedom. she perceives the death of her husband as a relief from her unhappy marriage where she was supposed to sacrifice her life and interests for the sake of her husband (Chopin).
Mrs. Mallard does not see any positive sides in her marriage. she even does not know whether she loved her husband of not. Sitting in her armchair, she prepares to start her life from scratch. There are hints in description of the settings that Mrs. Mallard is not going to mourn. On the contrary, everything looks pleasant and even joyful. Ironic title of the story indicates that she does not have much time for the transformation. In an hour, her husband comes back home. Unwilling to get back to old life and shocked by this sudden coming back, Mrs. Mallard dies either because of her “hear trouble” or, as it is said by the doctor, “the joy that kills” (Chopin). Alongside with this inner transformation of the main character, Mr. Mallard is not visible in the story. As a result, the story shows only one side of the coin.
The other side of this coin is fully represented in Shiloh by Bobbie Ann Mason. The story is narrated from the point of view of Leroy Moffitt, a former truck driver, who spends all days and night at home after a serious road incident.