The story is entitled by a woman’s name, therefore it gives a foreshadowing that the story will be about a woman or a girl named Louise. The first sentence begins with the personal pronoun I, which means that the story is written in the first person. Thus, taking into consideration that the author is a man, even before the reading, it is possible to suppose that the story will be about a woman who has left a great impression about herself. Usually it is a good impression even if it is about a one-way love. That’s why from the very beginning the story has surprised me much, because it begins with the sentences: “I could never understand why Louise bothered with me.
She disliked me and I knew that behind my back she seldom lost the opportunity of saying a disagreeable thing about me.” Such statement (she disliked me) is a challenge for a curious reader and makes him read up to the end and find the reasons. Having read the story “Louise” I can say that the main theme of it is the relationships between people. The problem which the author raises is that some people can play on their neighbours’ feelings very easily. They use any possibility to do it. In case of the main character, Louise, it is her mystic heart disease. She could convince everybody, including herself, in its existence and there have not been any attempts to argue, before the narrator has done it. He tells the story in an ironic way, but at first it is a hidden irony.
He does not comment on the events, he just presents them. For example, while Louise’s first husband Tom Maitland wants the narrator to believe in her bad condition and for that oxymoron “she’s dreadfully delicate” and metaphor “her life hangs on a thread” are used, the narrator brings the proofs of an absolutely different state of things, using the antithesis in parallel constructions: “I had noticed that if a party was amusing she could dance till five in the morning, but if it was dull she felt very poorly and Tom had to take her home early.” In such way, without any remark, just using antithesis in order to show how Louise’s words contradict her actions, the author shows the irony of the situation: “Of course it will kill me,” she said – It didn’t kill her.” “Her friends asked her why she did not marry again. Oh, with her heart it was out of the question, she answered – A year after Tom’s death, however, she allowed George Hobhouse to lead her to the altar.” The uttered represented speech shows the way of Louise’s usual behavior and produces the necessary effect on the reader. And even that fact that she always repeated to her husbands that she wouldn’t live long and the fact that she “outlived” both of them produces an ironic effect. I think, it is possible to say that all Louise’s life is one big antithesis, because she has lived more than forty years softly making other people do what she wants but constantly repeating “I hate the thought of anyone sacrificing themselves for me.”
All people who surrounded her describe her with such epithets: “a frail, delicate girl with large and melancholy eyes”, “dreadfully delicate”, “the most gentle wife” and no one has ever thought that it was just a mask. Only the narrator has mentioned the possibility of its existence: “Perhaps she knew that I alone saw her face behind the mask and she hoped that sooner or later I too should take the mask for the face.” And only at the end of the story he reveals his true attitude to her. He expresses his irony about her behavior openly and says: “I think you’ve carried out a bluff for twenty-five years. I think you’re the most selfish and monstrous woman I have ever known. You ruined the lives of those two unhappy men you married and now you’re going to ruin the life of your daughter.” Again the antithesis is used. Firstly the narrator himself describes her as “a frail, delicate girl with large and melancholy eyes” and then from his own words she appears to be “a selfish and monstrous” and even “a devilish woman”. Only now it is possible to answer why “Louise bothered” with the narrator. Only he has seen her real face. The plot structure of the story “Louise” is as following: 1. There is no exposition. The development of the action begins from the first sentence: “I could never understand why Louise bothered with me”. 2. The rising action is almost the whole story
3. The climax is in the last dialogue between the narrator and Louise. 4. The falling action is a wedding of Louise’s daughter 5. The denouement is Louise’s death. The elements of plot are ordered chronologically. The line of narration is straight. There are two main characters: Louise and the narrator himself, where Louise is an antagonist and the narrator is a protagonist. There are also some flat characters such as Tom Maitland, the first husband of Louse; George Hobhouse, her second husband, and her daughter Iris. Making a conclusion, I want to say that this is a true to life story, which can happen anywhere (the author does not even point to a place where the actions have been developing).
To my mind, he decided to write this story because Louise really had impressed him much. It seems to me that in some cases he even admires the ability of this woman to make everything in a way she wants it to be done. It produces such effect that she dies at the day of her daughter’s wedding only because she wants to show that she is really ill and has had right that her daughter’s wedding will kill her. I think it is very topical nowadays, because a lot of people wear their masks in order not to show their real faces and intentions.
Courtney from Study Moose
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