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The Story Of An Hour By Kate Chopin

1209 words - 5 pages

The story of an hour
Analysis and interpretation
The Story of an Hour is a short story written by Kate Chopin. Kate was an American author that lived from 1850 to 1904. She is considered amongst many to be one of the first feminist authors of the 20th century. During the late 1800s and early 1900s many women struggled with gender roles in regards to their sexually and the issues of divorce and women’s role in society. These subjects are the main focus of most of Chopin’s work. The Story of an Hour is no different. The Story of an Hour is the story of an hour in the life of the young Mrs. Louise Mallard a woman whose wrinkles portray a repressed yet strong woman. As the story begins we are ...view middle of the document...

Kate Chopin suggests, that all marriages, no matter how loving and wonderful, are inherently oppressive and Louise’s thoughts and the way she reacts confirm this.
One very interesting aspect of the story is how subtly Chopin describes Louise’s emotions after her husband’s death. As she is sitting in her chair, exhausted, looking blankly out the window the reader gets the first glimpse of what she actually feels: “There were patches of blue sky showing here and there throughout the clouds…” the blue sky is a sign of hope. A sign of better things emerging from the sorrow she is feeling. The fact that the first thing she turns to after entering her room is the open window is also of some significance. In this case, the open window represents the newfound freedom that awaits her. A world filled with possibilities and opportunities. All the impressions she experiences through the window suggest joyous and positive changes. Simply put looking out of the window is giving her a view into her new bright future. Moments after looking through the window filled with new emotions she begins chanting to herself “Free, free, free” Weirdly, the concept of freedom seems to take over Mrs. Mallard's body. She's "powerless" to stop the feeling of freedom from "possessing her," even though the idea of freedom traditionally seems to indicate choice and personal authority. It is clear that she feels resolved from the bonds she had with her husband but she is not heartless. She admits to herself that she will still weep when she stands over Mr. Mallard’s gray and dead body at his funeral but the grief is only a temporary barrier to a bright and hopeful future. The excitement of her new freedom is short-lived. The clock is ticking and an hour has passed. At the sight of her husband Louise caves in to her weak heart and dies. The doctors announce that Mrs. Mallard has died of heart disease “-of joy that kills”. This last concluding line is probably the most impactful in the entire story. The doctor’s conclusion of her dying because of the joy of seeing her husband is certainly very ironic, when the opposite is actually the case. It is actually the loss of all the new things she no more than an hour ago attained that kills her. Indeed, she has died because of the loss of her independence and freedom.
In “The Story of an Hour,” Kate Chopin utilizes a specific structural and stylistic technique that heightens the drama...

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