The Story of an Hour-Theme and Narrative Elements

When considering short stories, it is very important to realize that the little things make a big difference in how a piece is perceived. Each piece must be in sync to really help convey the short story in the way that was meant. Different literary elements are integrated in different short stories. For Kate Chopin, her piece The Story of an Hour, symbolism and point of view play very strongly into the story.

To understand the significance of these elements, one must understand what this story is about.

The Story of an Hour is directly about how a woman finds out, and reacts, to news of her husband’s passing. But that is just the plot. The theme of the story goes far beyond that. Theme “is a representation of the idea behind the story (Clugston.)” When looking at Chopin’s story, a distinct theme is seen. This is the fear of being happy beyond marriage. Without delving into symbolism at this point, Mrs.

Mallard, at first seems timid and concerned, but then transitions into feeling of joy. It is as if she is scared of being judged for being happy that her husband is gone. When she finally realizes that it is ok, she celebrates with her sister, only to find out that her husband had not died, it had been a mistake. With this return, this joy that she had experienced quickly retreats, only to leave her dead.

Chopin uses so much symbolism throughout this short piece to communicate the way that the character was feeling. The first was the mention of the open window that she looked out soon after hearing the news. This window is a direct reference to the freedom that Louise suddenly realizes upon hearing the news. She starts to see everything happy outside- from fluffy clouds to people singing. This is all symbolizing the new opportunity that she is beginning to see possible for her. The window was just the start of everything else that would be there.

Another main point of symbolism was Louise’s heart. Off the bat, Chopin mentions the heart trouble that she suffers from. It is also referenced as her joy begins to surface: “Her pulses beat fast, and the coursing blood warmed and relaxed every inch of her body.” Her heart begins to represent exactly how she is feeling. First there is the sorry-heart problems. Then the elation-pulse picking up. Then finally, when she realizes that her husband has not passed after all, Louise dies of heart disease. This shows the roller coaster of emotions that Louise experiences.

The other literary device that Chopin uses to her advantage is point of view. This story is told from a third person omniscient point of view, meaning that there is “An external narrator who knows and relates thoughts and feelings of the characters (Clugston.)” Though there is not a point where Louise is the narrator, readers do get to know everything that is going on in her head. It is almost as if a reader gets to looks at the entire story from the outside, and yet still know everything that is happening. A Reader is able to look at Louise as a friend and feel the empathy for her, which helps them understand the story.

The Story of an Hour is a great example of how short stories must get things across without elaborating too far off topic. Chopin is able to encompass her whole story with adding oodles of back story and other fluff that is not necessary. Her use of symbolism goes a long way towards communicating things so that they never have to be said, and the point of view helps a reader really grasp the story and theme that she is trying to create.

Clugston, R. W. (2010). Journey into Literature. San Diego, California: Bridgepoint Education, Inc.

The Relationship Between Men and Women Presented in the Short Story “the Story of an Hour”

The relationship between men and women presented in the short story “The Story of an Hour”, is that men dominated society. A Woman’s freedom was nonexistent. Throughout this short story, women are presented as powerless and dependent while men were considered to be superior. Women were tied down through marriage, such as, having been expected of doing as the man pleased without having any say in the relationship. Through a feminist critical perspective, this short story supports a patriarchal society that is presented though marriage and women’s lack of freedom.

During this period in time, men had dominated with power and control over women. Women were seen as weak and powerless, therefore it was assumed and expected of women to obey the husband. Louise whom had been married to Brently Mallard, was under her husband’s restraint since the words “I Do” uttered her mouth. In the text, Louise’s freedom was hidden and held back between the time of her marriage, up until news was received mentioning her husband’s death.

Applying a feminist critical perspective clearly presents that women did not belong to themselves. They were a part of the husband and were under his authority. Applying the perspective clearly identifies a man’s abuse towards women, through power and control. Louise was gently informed of the news of her husband’s death, due to a heart condition. Louise sobbed and went up to her room alone.

She would have no one to follow her. She sat down an armchair and looked through an open window and could see the delicious breath of rain that was in the air and the countless number of sparrows that were twittering in the eaves. Her face spoke lines of repression and even a certain strength. She gazes off into the sky and has an intelligent suspension of thought. Applying a feminist critical perspective suggests the idea that Louise had realized all of the joy, happiness, and new life that now surrounded her, which was not apparent during the time of her marriage. This idea presents that Louise had a new outlook on life. There was something coming to her and she was waiting for it, fearfully. She didn’t know what it was but she felt it through the scents and colors that filled the air. She begun to recognize this thing that was approaching to possess her, and she was striving to beat it back with her will. She let out the words “free, free, free!”, and felt terrified but calmly relaxed. Applying the perspective would suggest the idea that the scents and colors that filled the air, are a sign of joy and happiness in which is what she is trying to find and feel inside of her.

It is inferred that women were not supposed to feel or express themselves with joy towards a husbands suffering or loss in front of family and friends. During this period in time, it was considered inappropriate for a wife not to grieve over her dead husband. Given that men had been highly respected, a woman was to only express sadness for the death of their husband. Therefore, Louise goes to her room alone in order to truly express her feelings and thoughts without anyone seeing her or pass judgment towards her. The amount of respect men are given express the power they have over society. In turn, describing a patriarchal society. Louise begins to fear the joyful truth of realizing and accepting her freedom by trying to fight it back with her will. However, when the words “free” drifted out of her lips and into her mind, she experiences joy. She would now live for herself. Applying the feminist critical perspective makes it clear that women lived to please, obey and serve their husbands without having a say in the relationship. Women lived for their husbands and were stripped of their freedom through marriage. However, Louise would now have no powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow creature. In the event of her husband’s death, she would no longer be tied down.

Through the feminist critical perspective, a patriarchal society is supported due to men having the assumption that a women’s role was to serve the man and become his property. With this intention, men had power over the women. From a feminist critical perspective, it is clear to perceive that her husband’s death was a release of freedom from her marriage. The text describes that at times, she did and did not love her husband. However, love had not mattered anymore because she was now free. Whether they loved each other or not, she would have still been his property. This restriction of freedom was no longer her cross to bear. The death of her husband would pave her a path for a new life. Louise whispers, “Free! Body and soul free!”. Keeping the feminist critical perspective in mind, the idea is given that her “body” is the physical property and the “soul” is her emotional and mental freedom. Provided that Louise suffered from a heart condition, her sister begged her to open the door and relax because for fear that she would make herself ill.
No; she was drinking in a very elixir of life through that open window. Through this open window, Louise cumulatively realized all the new opportunities, chances, and possibilities swarming in her mind. Applying the feminist critical perspective states that with a husband standing in the way of her freedom, these possibilities were just fantasies deemed as impossible. Men stood in the way of allowing women to live their own lives.

Spring days, and summer days, and all sorts of days that would be her own. Analyzing this with a feminist critical perspective suggest the idea that women focused on the husbands needs before anything else. With this in mind, it’s presented how much power men had over women which supports a male dominated society. Now that spring and summer days were all her own signifies that she would now live a life with no restrictions. To be a women and married meant you did not belong to yourself. Louise was and would always be his wife. Now that Mallard was dead, Louise belonged to no one and considered herself to be an independent women. As noted earlier, using the feminist critical perspective suggest the idea that women were tied down by marriage. A woman was to be at the husbands every beck and call. It is not her choice to agree or disagree with his wishes, orders, and commands.

A point over looked is the Irony presented in this short story. She breathes a quick prayer that life might be long. It was only yesterday she had thought with a shudder that life might be long. Before the death of her husband, she dreaded a long life. A life that she knew would feel miserable and unending. Yet with the death of her husband, she now prays for a longer life so that she can enjoy freedom. The irony is presented through her feelings of dreading a long life but now praying for one. Applying a feminists critical perspective on this idea supports a patriarchal society do to the fact that women would have rather have lived a shorter life when being in the control of a man, rather than live their whole life instead. In turn, men even had the power to alter a woman’s feelings towards living life. Analyzing the text though a feminist critical perspective reveals the truth about a woman’s suffering during this era, as well as demonstrating how men were greatly carried in society. Men viewed women as miniscule creatures that seemed to be weak and fragile, therefore not being able to have power or control over anything.

As a result, a women’s opinion and beliefs were usually disregarded. Louise had been taking in all of her new found freedom through the view of the outside window. Eventually, Louise opened the door due to her persistent begging. There was a feverish triumph in her eyes, and she carried herself unwittingly like a goddess of victory. When applying the Feminist critical perspective, it is clear that men held power and control because the author exaggerates Louise’s feelings towards having power by comparing it to a goddess’s. The association between a goddess and a man explains how much power men had, and the society that was based upon it. Little did Louise know that this unchained freedom was soon to be taken away. When Louise and her sister reached the first floor, a man entered the front door. The man who entered was indeed her husband whom was alive and well. When the doctors came they say she had died of heart disease- of the joy that kills. Based on the time period, the doctors were most likely males. The doctors believed she died of joy from seeing him alive. By assuming that she died of joy from his return supports my analysis of a patriarchal society which states how men had power and control over everything. Apparently, men thought women were so powerless and dependent, that she must have died from the shock and joy of realizing her husband returned. Thus, men believed they had all the power and controlled everything. Including death. When applying the feminist critical perspective, it’s clearly presented that women were given no freedom.

When Louise sees her husband alive, she becomes petrified and realizes that her freedom was taken away. Thus, resulting in shock and killing her due to her fragile heart condition. Not from joy. Through a feminist critical perspective, this short story supports a patriarchal society that is presented through marriage. The man is very powerful and controls everything, whereas women are seen as weak, powerless and dependent. Women have no say or rights in any decision making at all. A woman must be at the husband every beck and call without having a say in the relationship. Men are seen as powerful, superior and cruel while women suffer from an unhappy marriage. All of these ideas link to how this short story presents a patriarchal society Synopsis of “The Story of an Hour”

A woman named Louise Mallard whom suffers from a heart condition, lives an unhappy life due to the lack of freedom that is restricted from her through her marriage. The period in time of this story suggest the lack of independence women were given. News comes about a train accident involving her husband’s death. It was considered inappropriate to express her joy in front of a crowd, so she goes into her room alone and finally realizes that his death meant the release of her freedom. Louise feels relieved and joyful that no one would now be able to control her life besides herself. Louise mentions her having had and had not loved him. However, she does not care anymore because now she had freedom that was not presented to her during her marriage. Her sister begs her to relax due to her heart condition and rejoin her family and friends. When she returns from her room, a man entered the door. To clarify, her husband had never been in a car accident and was alive and well. Louise had died and when doctors came, concluded that she died from the joy of her husband’s return. However, she had not truly died of happiness, she had died of the shock in knowing her freedom has been taken away from her once again.

Story of an Hour- Analysis

Extract: “When the doctors came they said she died of heart disease–of joy that kills.” Write a persuasive essay of between 500 – 700 words in response to the following question: Early in the story we learn that Mrs. Mallard is “afflicted with heart trouble,” though her unexpected reaction to her husband’s death may suggest and alternative reason for her poor health. What was the cause of Mrs. Mallard’s death? Explain your point of view. “A joy that kills”, not exactly the explanation you expect to hear for the death of a woman who had died at the sight of her husband.

Then again, it may indeed depend on the cause of her joy. “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin tells the story of a woman living in the 18th century and takes the reader on an emotional journey with her character over the time frame of an hour. Chopin reveals the oppressive nature of marriage in her time and puts forward her views on freedom and independence through the relationship between Mr.

and Mrs. Mallard. The death of Mr. Mallard allows Louise to feel liberated through her grief as she is now free to experience the true essence of life. Her dreams suddenly came tumbling down at the sight of her live husband walking through the door.

The sight of this led her to her untimely death. But was it the overwhelming joy of seeing her husband that killed her; were the joy of a life that had just been so cruelly? I believe that the very thought of returning to her grave reality of life with her husband was the cause of her instant death. In an analysis of the story by Myranda Grecinger argues that the story in many ways ‘mirrors’ the life of Kate Chopin. She states that; “Kate Chopin’s father was killed in a railroad accident when she was very young, this is exactly the way that the man in the story is supposedly killed, however the man returning unharmed in the story is a fictional twist…” This can be seen as a reflection of her childhood dreams when she many times may have been waiting for her father to simply walk through the front door as if nothing had happened. She also brings light to the fact that, Chopin’s husband died while she was in her thirties like Mrs. Mallard. It was only after this point in her life that Chopin began to write and make her own money.

This reflects on the way Louise Mallard begins to transform into a strong independent woman with a new will to live after the death of her husband as portrayed when she thinks to herself “There would be no one to live for her during those coming years; she would live for herself.” (41) Louise’s initial reaction to her husband’s death is what you expect from any wife, unimaginable grief at the loss of a life long companion. It then begins to dawn on her how much better her life would be without him; which then leads the reader to question her character. She levels with herself and admits that “she had loved him–sometimes” and she would “weep again when she saw the kind, tender hands folded in death” (41), but the fact of the matter was that her love for him simply did not matter anymore. With him dead there would be no “powerful will” ruling over her with “blind persistence”(41). She would no longer be a slave to her marriage, her husband, not ever her own mind; and as she slowly abandoned she began to embrace her newly found freedom. We are left to question whether her ‘heart trouble’ was truly a physical illness with unintentional self-inflicted kind of pain. In many ways, the fact that she dies at the end of simple “heart disease” (which the doctors think came about as a result of her joy of seeing her husband) symbolizes the “disease” of marriage.

She is not able to feel free unless her husband, is no longer present. The fact that it affects her heart as opposed to any other portion of her body shows that her misery from this symbolic disease comes from something inside of her, and not, however, and external force as the doctors believed. It was the heart of a young woman whose voice had been silent for so long that suffered from such a severe mental affliction that it began to take toll on her body as well. Louise’s ‘heart condition’ is proved even more to have more to do with her mental condition than her physical state as her character develops in the story. She is quite capable of handling the overwhelming joy that should have been too much for someone with her ‘condition’. Instead we see her transformed as a person as she begins to travel on her path of self-rejuvenation. She goes from being ‘Mrs. Mallard’, described in the beginning only by a title and a heart condition. To a woman who allowed herself to fully feel the joy of freedom, whose eyes were “keen and bright”. We see her thinking about her future as Chopin uses imagery to help the reader understand the extent to which Louise Mallard wants to change her life. “She was drinking in a very elixir of life through that open window.

Her fancy was running riot along those days ahead of her. Spring days, and summer days, and all sorts of days that would be her own. She breathed …that life might be long. It was only yesterday she had thought with a shudder that life might be long (41)….There was a feverish triumph in her eyes, and she carried herself unwittingly like a goddess of Victory.” (42) It was with that triumph in her eyes that she re – defined herself as a self-asserted, powerful woman with the world of opportunity at her fingertip and she was not about to look back. By letting the reader experience Louise’s transformation, Chopin not only reveals the repressive nature of marriage in her time, but also brings the reader to truly understand how valuable freedom is. Not the freedom that is given to you; but the one that you give yourself, because all change starts within. It is for such reasons that when Louise goes down those stairs and sees her husband walking through the door she dies instantly. I don’t believe she was just a frail and fragile woman who had just been crushed by the death of her husband, and now with a weak heart realized that he was alive.

She had not been so overcome with trauma that the shock of such a sudden influx of joy had been too much for her heart. She was a woman who had been living under the oppressive state of societal marriage. She was a woman who had been given a second chance at life, and she was determined to live for herself this time around. Hence, the realization that her new reality had been nothing but a short lived fantasy; the grandeur of the life ahead of her would remain unknown. The thought of something so devastatingly tragic is what I believe killed her. The fact that she had only dipped her toes in the water, never got to swim in the big blue ocean. The thought of returning to a dark and gloomy life where all she would ever be was ‘Mrs. Mallard’. The paralyzing pain that killed her newly found joy and freedom is what I believe led to her death. And to think that “… it was only yesterday she had thought with a shudder that life might be long” (41).

Works cited
The Kate Chopin Historical Society. (n.d.). Biography of Kate Chopin [A quick overview of her life and works].Accessed September 19,2014, Grecinger, Myranda, “An analyzation of ‘The story of an Hour’ by Kate Chopin”, bryteyedgemini.hubpages, June 8, 2014 Accessed September 20, 2014,, Nicole, “Literary Analysis of ‘Story of an Hour’ by Kate Chopin : Language, Emotion and Marriage”, ArticleMyriad, December 6, 2011 Accessed September 20, 2014,, Michelle, “What are some literary devices in the “Story of An Hour” by Kate Chopin?”, enotes, September 17, 2013 Accessed September 19, 2014,

Short Response on “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin

Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” is a short story that leaves many unanswered questions, tells the tale of a woman who is not upset about her husband’s passing and describes a struggle for identity.

“The Story of an Hour” reminds me of a vignette in the way that it leaves out details that that the reader needs in order to easily understand the characters and plot of the story. The author allows the reader to form his or her own interpretation of how the woman will react to the report of her husband’s unavoidable destiny.

The words “free, free, free,” signify that the woman is not exceptionally upset that her husband has died in a train accident. The story then begins to twist the story into the opposite of what the reader might think will take place. The woman encounters complete joy over the death of another human being, instead of sorrow. This now gives the reader the impression that she has been mistreated in the marriage and that, perhaps, his death is in the wife’s best interest.

The ending conjures questions that are difficult to answer, such as why the woman dies at the sight of her living, breathing husband. It is possible that the woman, throughout her marriage, makes herself ill in the misery that she feels in being attached to the man. She may feel that she is healed as she hears of his permanent departure from the world, yet she gives up on life once she realizes the truth.

I find it interesting that her first name is only told to us after she hears of her husband’s death. Previous to her knowledge of her husband’s death, she is known as Mrs. Mallard or “she.” While it seems very normal for a wife to assume her husband’s name in marriage, she may have felt that she became his property due to his demeanor. The woman is aware of her loss of self, and the sovereignty she feels when she assumes that he is dead becomes inescapable and even delightful.

The human situation causes misery, and along with despair comes the contemplation of how to escape such conditions.

A Critical Analysis Of “The Story Of An Hour”

A critical analysis of “The Story of an Hour” Kate Chopin’s “The Story Of An Hour”, in my opinion, is a good piece of literature. It is well written, clearly written, entertaining, and it brings a bit of a challenge to the reader.

Starting with the title, Chopin described part of the setting. We already know that everything that happens during this little drama, happens within an hour.

This title brought curiosity upon me because I did not realize that many things that could affect one’s life could take place in an hour. For example, the recent tragedy in America, within one hour much had happened in the borders of the United States and Chopin’s choice of title brought that to my attention, within an hour much could happen that could completely change someone’s life.

The way the story is written is very straightforward. The author tells you exactly what is happening but still leaves enough room for your imagination to fill in the blanks.

For example, when Chopin describes Louise’s room with “the open window, a comfortable, roomy armchair” (page 378), and then goes on to describe what Louise sees outside, she tells us that our protagonist isn’t living a bad life monetarily. Louise has a nice comfortable chair in her bedroom where she has a nice view of a square with trees and people.

The way Chopin describes the weather follows the same suit. “There were patches of blue sky showing here and there through the clouds”¦in the west facing her window” (page 378). The author tells you what to imagine but there is still room for you to add, for example, the sun shining through the clouds and warmly hitting her face, among other things.

The language used was also good. It wasn’t the usual complicated Shakespearean English, it was, if you will, a more updated version of it. Because she used Modern English, it was easier to follow and understand, I didn’t have to stop and figure out what a certain word meant. At the same time, it is not to say that the piece was poorly written. In many instants as I read it I noticed the way it flowed so well and how beautiful it sounded. The description Chopin gives of Louise sitting on the chair describes it best. “She sat with her head thrown back upon the cushion of the chair, quite motionless, except when a sob came up into her throat and shook her, as a child who has cried itself to sleep continues to sob in its dreams.” (Page 378). Simple, yet deep.

Throughout the whole story I didn’t really have an urge to stop reading it. Chopin kept me there reading along because I was curious to know more about how Louise felt and if she was going to be ok since it was mentioned that she had heart problems. The story was very entertaining although short. I believe that even if Chopin had dragged on a little more I still would’ve read it right through.

Louise showed some strange signs upon receiving the news of her husband’s death. It can even be said that Chopin intended for the audience to think that Louise might have had something to do with her husband Brently’s death. And Richards might have been involved too. As the news were received at the newspaper office, Richards was already there waiting for it and didn’t leave until a second telegram had been sent confirming the death of his friend. The fact that she “wept at once” (Page 378) also shows some kind of possible involvement, perhaps a fake cry scene was put here just so her sister would see that she was upset about her husband’s death. It is mentioned that she while sitting on her chair she sank “pressed down by a physical exhaustion that haunted her body and seemed to reach into her soul.” (Page 378).

That to me sounds a bit like guilt, the use of the work “haunted” shows that this is a negative feeling. Once Chopin starts to describe Louise, “She was young, with a fair face, whose lines bespoken repression and even a certain strength.” (Page 378), that could be describing the repression that she felt because of her husband’s attitude towards her. “It was not a glance of reflection, but rather indicated a suspension of intelligent thought.” (Page 378), this sentence tells me that she hasn’t been logically thinking anymore, it also helps to show that perhaps she did have some kind of involvement on her husband’s death, not being able to cognitively solve her problems with him.

She is waiting for a feeling, maybe it is guilt from what she has done and when it says that she would fight this feeling back it is because she doesn’t want to feel guilty. And later on this feeling is called a monstrous joy. The cries of freedom also help my observations come true, she had a reason to do it, she wanted to be free of her husband’s ways. Once her husband opens the door, she screams and has a heart attack, she was not expecting to see him ever again, she was filled w joy until the moment she saw him alive. Perhaps she is guilty of trying to kill her husband.

The confusing challenging part comes when Richards tries to get in the way of Louise’s sight so she is not able to see Brently. I don’t understand it, what does it mean? Did Richards maybe tell Brently to do something else rather than take this train trip but did not tell him that the train “accident” was to occur? Maybe it is so and he was trying to not allow Louise to see Brently because Richards and Louise had planned it all and he backed out on it. Maybe Louise’s intention was to be with Richards after her husband died.

After reading the story several times this is my interpretation. It is a very good story that could have many meanings, this being one of them. Evil, or Louise’s desire to kill her husband, failed once again because of Good, or Richards strong friendship with Brently.

Works Cited

Chopin, Kate. “The Story of an Hour” The Norton Introduction to Literature. New York: Norton, 1998. 377-379.

Journal on “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin

After reading “the Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin, I was surprised at the unexpected events that lead to Mrs. Mallard’s death. Through elaborated setting, profound feelings and enriching plot, the theme of the story was gradually revealed and brought out an astonishing ending to both Louise’s life and miserable marriage.

The settings took place both in outside and inside environments. As informed of her husband’s death, Louise begins to make the first expressions. Unlike other women being immobilized and denial, she became anguished but went to her room alone.

Here the audience expects her to moan in deep sorrow, but instead she sits calmly, sinking down into a comfortable spacious armchair looking out to window. She describes the smell of the air in the room as “the delicious breath of rain”. She sees the trees outside in the yard quivering in “new spring life”- something outside is being reborn just like her inner self. Her inside environment in fact has a soothing feeling despite the depressing event.

Louise’s feelings observed through a third person view little by little divulge her story. She whispered: “free, free, free!” uncontrollably with “a monstrous joy.” It is freedom that she has been battling to feel for the many years married to her man. She tried to defend herself by rambling on about how she used to love her husband sometimes, but she cannot hide the delighted actuality that she has her freedom back once again. To her the marriage was a prison; her life belonged to her husband with the social belief that such thing would make a woman’s life fulfilled. She releases all the stress and emotions that had been building up all the passing years. It is devastating, as she describes it, “her pulses beat fast, and the coursing blood warmed and relaxed every inch of her body.” Now she yearns to live more, to enjoy her freedom once again, contrasting to what she thought the day before “with a shudder that life might be long.

“The turning point is when Louise saw her husband opening the door coming back alive. Chopin’s satirical plot leaves an open understanding of Mrs. Mallard’s death. It is irony that in the beginning of the story she was said to have a heart trouble, her relative tried to use the gentlest way to inform her of Brently Mallard’s death. The reality is she feels glad about her husband being forever absent from her life, and as she is willing to enjoy the world again, her husband comes back. Louise finally became the one to die in the end. Perhaps “freedom” of mind and body is more valuable than life itself. Therefore, after this intervention, going back to the confines of marriage would be killing the life and heart of Louise, thus death is the only solution and of course the “heart condition” foreshadowing an impending death.

In conclusion, I enjoyed Kate Chopin’s “Story of an Hour” and found her unique writing style beautiful. It only sheds its secrets through vague details yet brings a strong emotion to a twisted and painful story of the suffering women in the conservative nineteenth century society.

Work Cited

Chopin, Kate. The Story of an Hour.1894. Rpt. in Compact LiteratureReading Reacting Writing. By Kirszner and Mandell. 6th ed. Boston, MA: 2007.

Irony in “The Story of an Hour”

There are many types of irony such as basic irony which is the use of word to convey a meaning that is opposite of its literal meaning. Situational irony which is the moment a characters actions have the opposite of their intended effect. Finally there is dramatic irony which occurs when there is a contrast between the readers knowledge and the knowledge of the characters in the work. However situational irony is what mostly transpires in Kate Chopin short story “The Story of an Hour”

Situational irony is used in “The Story of an Hour” through Mrs.

Mallard’s reaction to her husband’s death. When she first heard the news of her husband’s death, Mrs. Mallard, “wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment” (Chopin, 1). Everyone in the house thought that she was upset and went upstairs to be alone in her room because this is a common reaction after having just lost a loved one. Although once Mrs. Mallard is alone in her room, Chopin wants the reader to witness that she is not saddened by the loss of her husband but relieved, “When she abandoned herself a little whispered word escaped her slightly parted lips.

She said it over and over under her breath: “free, free, free!”” (Chopin, 1) Although Mrs. Mallard is “free” from her marriage that does not mean that she did not love her husband, as she looks through the open window from which she gazes represents freedom and opportunities.

Instead of being dark and full of grief to symbolize how one would expect her to feel, she sees patches of blue sky, fluffy clouds and treetops. She also hears singing of birds and smells a rainstorm coming. Chopin signifies this as new beginning for Mrs. Mallard. Everything that she experiences through her time of “mourning” suggests joy and a new life that awaits her. She is expected to mourn her husband’s death, but she is thinking about her new life “There would be no one to live for her during those coming years; she would live for her self” (Chopin, 2) this is to be understood that she has sacrificed her life for her husband, although there is no evidence that her husband has done her living “for her”. The language Chopin uses throughout her story foreshadows the ironic happiness that she feels with being free.

Chopin further more tries to explain that she is not only feeling happiness through her husband’s death when she writes, “She knew that she would weep again when she saw the kind, tender hands folded in death; the face that had never looked save with love upon her, fixed and gray and dead.”(Chopin, 1) It is not clear on why Louise Mallard feels this way about her husband’s death because there is no evidence on any physical or emotional abuse, repression or neglect from her husband “it might have been external, in society or in her marriage or whether it was internal, a recognition that it takes strength to control one’s feelings or whims.” (Berkove, 153).

Through Louise’s recognition that she is free from her husband there is situational and dramatic irony as well. While she was alone in her room she realized that she would no longer be bound to her husband but rather free to do whatever she should choose, ” “Free! Body and soul free!” she kept whispering.” (Chopin, 2) She continues to whisper this to herself because although she is alone in her room she acknowledges that she should not be having such thoughts and does not want anyone to know how she really feels about her husband’s death. No one else knew this, they all believed that she was sorrowful and wanted to be alone to grieve. Josephine, a woman in the house, even though Mrs. Mallard was making herself sick, but in reality Louise was absorbing the days ahead of her.

Her overwhelming joy all comes to an abrupt stop when she descends from her room to only find out that her husband is not dead. She is so shocked to see her husband that she has a heart attack and as doctors described it as, “joy that kills,” which is perceived as the dramatic irony part of the short story. Everyone believes she died in that way so the reader can actually realize that she was in fact not joyful to see her husband instead in disarray and upset that she only had a glimpse of real freedom and would rather be dead than to go back and live the life she had. “Louise dies in the world of her family where she has always sacrificed for others” (Ewell, 160.)

Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” is one of the many books that says “so much in so few words” (Berkove, 152). The irony in her story is almost never ending. Louise Mallards life after discovering about her husbands death is the true meaning of “the story of an hour” because she had a quick look of how her life was going to be.

Works Cited

Chopin, Kate. “The Story of an Hour.” Kate Chopin International Society, April 19, 1894. Web. 1 Nov. 2014.

2. Berkove, Lawrence I. American Literary Realism, Vol. 32, No. 2 : Fatal Self-Assertion in Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour.” 2000. Web. 1 Nov. 2014

3. Ewell, Barbara C. “Chopin and the Dream of Female Selfhood: Kate chopin Reconsidered” 2000. Web. 1 Nov. 2014

Kate Chopin Analytical Essay – the Story of an Hour

The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin is a short yet complex story, describing Mrs Mallard’s feelings. It focuses on the unfolding emotional state of Mrs Mallard after the news of her husbands death, and has overflowing symbolism and imagery. It is an impressive literary piece that touches the readers’ feelings and mind and allows the reader to have a connection to Mrs Mallard’s emotional process. Although the story is short, it is complete with each word carrying deep sense and meaning.

It is written in the 19th century, a time that had highly restrictive gender roles that forbade women to live as they saw fit.

Mrs Mallard experiences something not everyone during this time has the luck to have; the happiness of freedom that the reader only understands at the end of the story. The author unfolds Mrs Mallards feelings in three stages; firstly moving quickly to grief, then to a sense of newfound freedom, and finally to despair over the loss of that freedom.

To create the story, Chopin uses an abundance of literary elements, including imagery, personification, and similes, and also makes use of the social expectations of her time.

In the beginning of the story the reader is told that Mrs Mallard suffers from a heart condition, and news of her husband’s death is brought to her “as gently as possible” (158). Mrs Mallard’s sister, Josephine, and her husbands friend Richards break the news, believing Mrs Mallard would be upset and that the news could make her condition worsen. During the 19th century, most women when in Mrs Mallard’s situation would wait until they were in private before breaking their composure. Mrs Mallard however, “wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment” (158).

The reader expects Mrs Mallard to be upset at the news of her husbands death, and worries that with her heart trouble the sad news may worsen her condition. However, her reaction to the news is just the first emotional response to the news, without deep comprehension of what has happened and how it will change her life. Chopin shows us how Mrs Mallard, little by little, comes to realise it and what helps her to understand it. After composing herself Mrs Mallard goes to her room and “there stood, facing the open window, a comfortable, roomy armchair.

Read Also: Analytic Rubric for Essay Writing

Into this she sank” (158). Reading this readers realise something turns the story to a more positive and reassuring way. How does Chopin create this effect? Chopin uses imagery and creates the comfortable setting so that the reader can become more in tune with Mrs Mallards situation and feelings. By allowing thereader to see two things “a comfortable, roomy armchair” which symbolises security and comfort in spite of Mr Mallards death, and “the open window” that symbolises a connection to the world and life continuing.

In the fifth paragraph Chopin emphasises the feelings of comfort and security even more, and creates more details and fresh elements for the new and positive turn in the story. The reader is told that Mrs Mallard, through the window, can see “tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life,” (158) and that “the delicious breath of rain was in the air. In the street bellow a peddler was crying his wares. ” (158). These parts, also an example of imagery by setting the scene outside of the house, show the reader that Mrs Mallard is reconnecting with the world.

Sitting in that armchair she starts to hear sounds and smell scents that she didn’t before; things we take for granted and only appreciate when we’re happy. Did she really not notice these everyday occurrences until after her husband’s death? In the next paragraph Chopin gives us more details of these changes, emphasizing it but not telling the reader why she didn’t notice until now. Careful readers, however, understand the deep sense of the words about the “patches of blue sky showing here and there through the clouds that had met and piled one above the other” (158).

These words aren’t there just to take up space. They are details that make the reader feel the growth of Mrs Mallard’s excitement and let us understand that the blue sky is a symbol of the freedom and future life for Mrs Mallard. In paragraph eight, Chopin begins to use personification as well as imagery. Mrs Mallard “young, with a fair, calm face” (158) is sitting in the armchair with a “dull stare in her eyes” (158) which “indicated of intelligent thought” (158).

Reading this, the reader can form an idea of what Mrs Mallard looks like, and we understand that there’s something going on in Mrs Mallards head, something changing everything in her mind. Mrs Mallard is still struggling to figure it out but “she felt it, creeping out of the sky, reaching towards her through the sounds, the scents, the color that filled the air”. From this we understand that she is beginning to realise it, and her soul is beginning to fill with happiness of freedom, which is in all the sounds, smells and things she sees.

For one moment, however, she is somewhat afraid of feeling happy about her freedom and “she was striving to beat it back with her will” (159). This shows that Mrs Mallard is a “product” of her time, and is striving to feel what is socially accepted. She realizes that society would determine her thoughts of freedom inappropriate, but she can’t stop herself from feeling that way. However, “she knew that she would weep again when she saw the kind, tender hands folded in death” (159), but it’s just a reaction, one that society expects her to have, and one that many have when dealing with the death of someone they know.

Chopin makes it quite clear that Mr Mallard loved Mrs Mallard, “the face that had never looked save with love upon her” (159). Mrs Mallards own feelings are also described, and it’s clear that she doesn’t share her husbands feelings “she loved him – sometimes. Often she did not” (159). This kind of direct and simple language is used to describe things that Mrs Mallard isn’t emotional about, thus the language would indicate, as much as the actual words do, that Mrs Mallard didn’t have strong feelings for her husband.

After all, what can compare to “a long procession of years that would belong to her absolutely” (159). This is where Chopin finally gives a reason as to why Mrs Mallard feels this way about her husbands death. “There would be no one to live for her during these coming years: she would live for herself. There would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose” (159). This shows the reader a picture of Mrs Mallards family life.

She was unhappy with her husband because she couldn’t have her own opinion and she couldn’t show her own will to do something, which is why she is happy to be free of her marriage. Back in the 19th century, society would not accept a divorced woman, but it would accept widows. Mrs Mallard is estatic, realising that she was now free from her husband, and still has a place in society. “Free, body and soul free! ” (159). Reading these words the reader shares with Mrs Mallard her feelings, excitement and hopes.

At this point the readers have fixated mostly on Mrs Mallard and the sudden reintroduction of Josephine, brings the reader back to reality. Josephine, kneeling outside the door, now looks ridiculous to the reader as she implores Mrs Mallard with her words of “open the door – you will make yourself ill” (159). Because Mrs. Mallard, who is a woman, who had numerous years under her husband’s will, finally gets an absolutely freedom, a miraculous freedom, which she even didn’t hope to get the day before, but her sister is far from understanding it, and is in fact worrying that her sister is grief stricken.

Mrs Mallard eventually gives in to her sisters worried begging, and expecting “spring days, and summer days, and all sorts of days that would be her own” (159), leaves the room “a goddess of Victory” (159). Here Chopin uses a simile to describe how calm and happy Mrs Mallard is now, free of all the negatives of her marriage. This point, at first look, seems to be the highest culminating moment of the whole story. And this is where Chopin’s creativity truly comes into play. Chopin prepared the main culmination right at the end, in the three final paragraphs.

Mrs Mallards husband opens “the front door with a latchkey” (160). He enters “a little travel-stained, composedly carrying his gripsack and umbrella” (160). He is carrying it “composedly”, because although his name is on the list of those who died, he is unaware of the train accident reported at the beginning of the story. Adding to the irony is “Josephine’s piercing cry” and “Richards’ quick motion to screen him from the view of his wife” (160). It is said that Mrs Mallard dies “of a joy that kills” (160).

These words carry the complete opposite meaning than they read. The reader understands that the doctors are wrong, thinking that she dies from happiness of seeing her husband alive. Rather, the reader feels that she dies from total disappointment of the loss of the freedom she so recently gained and experienced, even just for an hour. This hour, spent in a comfortable armchair in front of an open window, made her feel happy and free, and made her understand the sense of her being, and it was the only real hour of her life.

In The Story of an Hour, Kate Chopin used many subtle literary elements to create depth in her story. By using imagery she allows the reader to get a sense of the characters surroundings while adding to the story. In using similes Chopin can express the characters feelings in different ways, instead of just telling the reader how Mrs Mallard feels. With her use of personification, Chopin allows the reader to better understand what Mrs Mallard looked like, while keeping her physique vague and without going into too much detail.

By creating a sudden and a strong ironic twist at the end, Chopin allows the story to contradict itself in ways the reader wouldn’t expect. In the beginning, the readers are worried that Mrs Mallard’s heart condition will worsen at the news of her husbands death, but in the end it’s disappointment of the fact that he doesn’t actually die that causes her heart to fail.

The main theme of the story, longing for freedom and how it felt to finally feel free, is expressed in a way that is both entertaining and allowed the reader to feel connected to the character. By having Mrs Mallard die of a “heart disease”, it symbolises that Mrs Mallard felt of marriage as a “disease” and that it was constraining.

The main point of the story is that freedom is a prize possession in Mrs Mallards life and that to loose it again so quickly after gaining it is more than she can bare. Bibliography: Charters, Ann “The Story and Its Writer: An Introduction to Short Fiction, Seventh Edition (2009 MLA Update)”, Boston, Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2007.

Analysis “The Story Of An Hour” by Kate Chopin

The short story ‘The Story Of An Hour’ written by Kate Chopin is a story about a woman, Mrs. Mallard who is delivered the shocking news that her husband has died in a train accident. Overwhelmed by her husband’s sudden death, she excuses herself and rapidly rushes to her room where we see her different side of her outlook. She has decided on a different aspect of life, she is shocked about her husband’s accidental death, but she has something to be happy about it.

Momentarily that her husband has died, Mrs. Mallard is happy because she is now free from her husband. ‘The Story of an Hour’ was written in an era when women didn’t have enough power to live their life independently. Women stayed in their house and took care of their family, while their spouses went for work.

Women waited for the attention and their outlooks were never listened to or analyzed. Indeed though women had wishes and emotions, those emotions have never listened.

Women did not attempt to speak about their feelings or their rights, it was just not taken off at that time. The story is an instance judgment through the passionate personality of Louise Mallard, the decline of the spirit of her persona in her marriage, and the average happiness, she endures whilst given a taste of the independence that freedom could endure.

The major theme in Kate Chopin’s story is independence. At the start of the story, Mrs. Mallard has been revealed that her husband has died in a train accident. Mrs. Mallard acts to this news as any wife feels. ‘She did not hear the story as many women have heard the same, with a paralyzed inability to accepts its significance’ (443). She is shocked so she excuses herself and rushes off to her room to be distant from everyone so ‘she would have no one to follow her’ (443). While in her room her side is completely different. She seems happy, she is upset too that her husband has died but now she newfound freedom that she didn’t have earlier. Mrs. Mallard coming out of her scale, once she is behind the closed doors she can positively show what she is thinking. Mrs. Mallard still in some sense that knows her place; she knows that she tried not to reveal certain feelings in front of her relatives and companions. ‘She was beginning to recognize this thing was approaching to possess her, and she was striving to beat it back with her will—–as powerless as her two white slender hands would have been’ (443).

For some reason, she knows her status in the community and even though her husband has gone she assumed to keep that development of women at the time. Mrs. Mallard is reborn again. She is now free, free from the obscuration of her husband. Mrs. Mallard is up in her room, standing in front of her window and everything around her is in full efflorescence, springtime has arrived. ‘When she abandoned herself a little whispered word escaped her slightly parted lips. She said it over and over under the breath: ‘free, free, free!’ The vacant stare and the look of terror that had followed it went from her eyes. They stayed keen and bright’ (443). Winter has gone and spring has been born. For some reason, this refers to Mrs. Mallard the winter being her husband has now died and spring being her newfound independence has been given. ‘Her pulses beat fast, and the coursing blood warmed and relaxed every inch of her body’ (443).

The smell of rain is in the air, and that can describe a form of recovery. ‘She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life. The delicious breath of rain was in the air. In the street below a peddler was crying his wares’ (443). The same fits here for Mrs. Mallard, for some reason she is purified, she is now free, free to live her life the way that she wants without having to clarify to anyone, also not her husband. Mrs. Mallard knows that she can truly live for herself and no one else. She knows that she can be her person. ‘There would be no one to live for during those coming years; she would live for herself. There would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature’ (443). Mrs. Mallard knows now that she only has to live with herself. She does not have to make anyone happy but herself. She is living her life the way she wants to, she is not going to be attached to her husband.

She loved her husband, but when she heard the news, she thought she was finally free and could do what she wanted, she felt happy and sad that her husband was left. She is a tough woman inside when she thinks her spouse was no longer going to be nearby, she thought of all the things that were going to come here in the future for her ‘Free! Body and soul free! She kept whispering’ (443). Mrs. Mallard’s sister Josephine was very worried when she locked herself in a room, but she only needed time to process the things that happened suddenly. When Josephine requested Louise to open the door, she was worried about Mrs. Mallards making herself sick because of her heart problem. ‘Louise, open the door! I beg; open the door—-you will make yourself ill’ (443). The twist in this condition is that Louise is feeling happy and enduring the fact that she has the rest of her life by herself. She is far away from the feeling of illness which Josephine thinks.

In actuality, Louise is feeling great and happy about the things that are coming in her life, ‘she was drinking in a very elixir of life through that open window’ (443). Mrs. Mallard finally compasses herself and comes out of her bedroom to make an illusion downstairs again. As she walks down the stairs Mrs. Mallard gets the surprise of her life, ‘Someone was opening the front door with a latchkey. It was Brently Mallard who entered, a little travel-stained, composedly carrying his grip-sack and umbrella. He had been far from the scene of the accident and did not even know there had been one. He stood amazed at Josephine’s piercing cry; at Richards’ quick motion to screen him from the view of his wife’ (444). At that moment, Mrs. Mallard falls to the floor and ‘when the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease—- of joy that kills’ (444) knowing that her freedom had now been taken away from her in an hour.

Biographical Approach to Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour”

Literature is always said to be the echo of life. It reflects the time, the mind’s state, and author’s life. Whenever one looks into any literature piece, they do not only read what is on the text but also try to understand the context that matters. These contexts include the life of the author, the era it was written, the social condition during the time it was set, and others. There are many ways in which a literary piece can be read and interpreted.

The act of interpreting a literary text is called literary criticism.

As said by Lamb (2003), literary criticism is an attempt to assess and comprehend the creative writing, the literature of an author. In this paper, the researcher uses a type of literary criticism to institute the meaning of the text. The researcher uses biographical approach to literary criticism. Eagleton (1996) describes this approach as a strategy of relating the author’s life and thoughts to his/her works.

This allows the reader to understand elements employed in the work, plus to relate works to authorial meaning and readers.

MHS Composition Guide states that there are central biographical questions needed to reflect on in taking this approach. These questions are: • What biographical facts has the author used in the text? • What biographical facts has the author changed? • What insights do we acquire about the author’s life by reading the text? • How do these facts and insights increase (or diminish) our understanding of the text? These questions wil used in the development of the body of this paper. In this paper, the researcher also attempts to give assessment in life to her short story, and to the main character of the short story “The Story of an Hour”.

Horward (2005) states that Katherine O’Flaherty, also known as Kate Chopin, was one of the most renowned female writers of her time. Her universal themes are what made her extraordinary. She wrote several short stories including “The Story of an Hour”, “Euphrase”, “Mrs. Mobry’s Reason”, “A Shameful Affair” and many others. Kate Chopin was raised into a home of women in St. Louis. This had been a very big influence to her writings, mainly on her views about feminism – views about women. Chopin was later widowed at 32, and there she started writing for herself and for her six children.

Chopin was an extensive reader that is why she was able to write stories of herself into creative ones. In the early 1970’s, it was the resurrection of women’s rights movements, and Kate Chopin was one of those contributors to the occurrence. She contributed a lot with her writings about women, daytime dramas, the feminine mystique, women’s liberation, Mars vs. Venus, self-help and open marriages. Definitely, Kate Chopin’s early experiences had a great influence on her writings. One of her celebrated short stories is “The Story of an Hour” and it is entirely famous not only in American Literature – but also in the world.

While reading the short story, the reader finds connection between the life of the author and the life of the main character of the short story. These connections are the similarities that the reader had taken into consideration: Chopin and Her Father’s Loss One of the main events in the story is a loss of someone very important, more particularly, Mrs. Mallard’s husband’s loss. Josephine, Mrs. Mallard’s sister, had brought the sad message that there was a railroad disaster and of those listed as ‘killed’ was Brently Mallard, who was Mrs. Mallard’s husband.

In Kate’s life, she had lost someone too, in a railroad accident in 1855 to a train accident. A Widow Mrs. Mallard is sooner or later, assumed to be a widow, but readers will soon find out that Mr. Mallard is alive. In Kate’s life, his father had widowed her mother. Both experienced having lost someone very special and as well as being widowed but definitely, their responses to the loss may entirely be different. In the end, before she would have learned about Brently’s return from the accident, Louise died of heart disease – of joy that kills. This suggests that she had a monstrous joy, because it killed and consumed her to death.

Perhaps, Chopin would just let Louise die instead of seeing Brently again, wherein she will be living like a prison again. Freedom for Women In “The Story of An Hour”, Chopin has made no suggestion to the readers that Mrs. Mallard was sorry for her husband’s loss. Instead, she has uttered ‘over under her breath’: “free, free, and free! ”, which suggests how happy Mrs. Mallard is to have lost her husband, because she has now freedom of herself. The joy she senses in possessing her freedom is something which consumes her. In Kate’s life, she was used to write about resurgence of women’s rights.

She experience a period when there was this declined and confinement of women’s public needs like education, the vote, rights to her own property and her own children. Those events drove her to write this kind of feminist text instead of choosing other universal themes. Briefly, the title of this novel, “The Story of an Hour” is a image of the feelings provoked by the main character, Louise Mallard. In connection to this, it can be confirmed that this novel is a reference to Kate Chopin’s life since most of the events in Louise’s life are similar, or at least made a great influence to that of the story, “The Story of an Hour”.

The biographical approach made by the researcher accomplishes its purpose because an understanding able of the issues behind the book went through by tracing the history and life of Kate Chopin. Literature can bring us to the world of the author. Therefore, this research established that literature reflects the time, state of mind, and the life of the author through understanding the connection between Kate Chopin and Mrs. Mallard in the short story, “The Story of an Hour. ” References:

Original Text: References Chopin, K. (1976). The Awakening and Selected Stories of Kate Chopin. New York: Signet Classic. Eagleton, T. (1996). Biographical Approach. An introduction to Literary Theories (2 ed. ) University of Minnesota Press. Horward, A. ( 2005). A Woman Ahead of Her Time. Retrieved 28 April 2010 from: http://www. angelfire. com/nv/English243/Chopin. html Lamb, A. (2003). The topic: literary criticism. Retrieved 24 April 2010 from: <http://42explore. com/litcrit. htm>