The story of an hour | (2023)

Kate Chopin 1894

Author's biography

Plot summary




historical context

Critical summary



Other reading

Although Kate Chopin is now considered a major writer, her reputation wasn't always so strong. Known primarily as a southern regionalist or “local colourist” during her lifetime, Chopin's stories and novels surprised many of her nineteenth-century readers. In the 1960s, with the rise of the feminist movement, critics rediscovered Chopin. "The Story of an Hour", first published in 1894ModaMagazine, is one of Chopin's shortest and most widely read stories. Louise Mallard's reaction to the news that her husband had been murdered and his disappearance after his arrival illustrates Chopin's belief in the role of women in marriage and in female identity. The story was initially rejected bycenturymagazine and byModaalso and was only published after the Chopin collection.swamp peoplereceived critical acclaim.

Author's biography

Kate Chopin was born in St Louis in 1851. Her parents, Thomas and Eliza O'Flaherty, were wealthy, slave-owning Catholics who held prominent positions in their community. When Chopin was four years old, her father died in a train accident and she was raised by her French-Creole mother and great-grandmother. At seventeen he graduated from the Academy ofHoly Heart. Two years later, in 1870, she married Oscar Chopin, a businessman from Louisiana of French Creole descent. InNew Orleans, where she and her husband lived until 1879, Chopin was at the center of southern noble social life. During this time she gave birth to six children. When Oscar's business failed in 1879, the family moved to Cloutierville, where Oscar's family owned a farm and plantation store. When Oscar died in 1882, Chopin was left with six children and little financial means. The family returned to St. Louis in 1884.

At the age of 39, Chopin began writing poetry and novels. His first short stories were published in St. Louis and St. Louis magazinesNew Orleansand were influenced by writers likeGuy de Maupassantand Molliere. Most of his stories are set in Louisiana and feature characters as diverse as Southern beauties, Arcadians and Creoles, mulattoes and Negroes. The stories focus on the themes of class relations, relations between men and women and female sexuality. In the 1890s, Chopin began to receive national attention for his fiction. She publishedswamp people1894 andA night at the academywhich it contains, often anthologizedStory"The Story of an Hour", 1897. The success of these two collections made Chopin financially independent and nationally known as a major author. In 1899 Chopin publishedThe awakening,is now considered his masterpiece. The novel's candid treatment of an independent woman who, after an extramarital affair and sexual "awakening," commits suicide rather than conform to society's mores, provoked outrage from readers and critics alike. The novel was banned in St. Louis and elsewhere. Due to the novel's hostile reception and difficulties with publishers, Chopin wrote very little at the end of his life. Five years after publication ofThe awakening,Chopin died of a stroke in St. Louis on August 22, 1904.

Plot summary

Chopin's "The Story of an Hour" is the story of an hour in the life of Mrs. Louise Mallard, a young woman whose wrinkles represent "oppression" and "violence". As the story begins, the narrator reveals that Mrs. Mallard has "heart problems." Her sister Josephine and her husband's friend Richards came to her after learning of a rail disaster that resulted in Mr Mallard's death. They are both concerned that Mrs Mallard might become ill from the news, and Josephine is very careful to break the news to her as carefully as possible.

Mrs. Mallard reacts to the news with "sudden and wild abandon" and locks herself in her bedroom. In the solitude of her room, Ms. Mallard understands the fundamental shift that is taking place in her life. He sits on a chair, stops crying and looks out the window at the “new spring life”. She "suspends intelligent thinking" and anxiously awaits a "subtle and elusive" idea to "possess." She begins to understand that she's glad her husband is dead, but tries to suppress the thought.

Once Mrs. Mallard accepts the sentiment, knowing that her husband truly loved her, she is elated that she will never have to bend her will to his again. Now that her husband is dead, she will be able to assert herself in a way she never dreamed of when she was alive. She admits she once loved her husband, but now she's "free! Body and soul free!” She begins to look back on the rest of her life when she shuddered at the thought the day before.

Mrs. Mallard leaves her room and goes to her sister, who is anxiously standing in front of the door. She acts "like a goddess of victory" as she goes downstairs with her sister, where Richards is still waiting. As they go down the stairs, they hear the front door open and see Mr. Mallard come in. He was not near the scene of the accident. ThatStoryit ends with the sudden death of Mrs. Mallard, whose heart has skipped a beat. His doctors declare that he died "from the joy that kills".



Josephine is Mrs. Mallard's sister. It is Josephine who tells Mrs. Mallard of her husband's death and begs Louise to let her into the room after locking herself. Josephine, a woman who embodies the feminine ideal, assumes that Louise is suffering terribly at the news, unaware that her sister is genuinely excited at the prospect of being a widow.


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(Video) The Story of an Hour - Audiobook

ánade real brently

Brently Mallard, Mrs. Mallard's husband, is presumed dead after a rail disaster. When he reappears at the front door, the commotion leads to Mrs Mallard's death.

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At the beginning of the story, Mrs. Mallard is known simply by her married name. The wife, who has "heart problems", is described as "young, with a beautiful and calm face, the lines of which express oppression and even a certain strength". Upon learning of her husband's death, Mrs. Mallard becomes "Louise," a woman aware of her own desires and reveling in the prospect of being released from the confines of marriage. Louise dies of "killing joy" when her husband reappears. Her character represents the female individuality; She is a strong-willed and independent woman, excited at the prospect of starting her life anew after the reported death of her husband.


identity and essence

In "The Story of an Hour" Chopin deals with the themes of self-discovery and female identity. After learning of her husband's death, Mrs. Mallard is initially overcome with grief. But he quickly begins to feel a previously unknown feeling of freedom and relief. At first he fears his own awakening: "Something came his way and he was waiting for it, fear." Her own feelings overcome her and own her. When you first hear the words "free, free, free!" She is described as "left to her own devices". But after saying those words, she relaxes and gains more control over herself. While imagining life without her husband, she embraces visions of the future. you

he realizes that whether or not she loved him mattered less than "that assertiveness" he now feels. Such is the happiness Louise derives from this recognition of individuality that she collapses as soon as she realizes that her husband is alive. Chopin suggests that Louise could not bear to give up her newfound freedom and return to life with her husband, where she would have to bend her will to his.

role of women in marriage

Closely related to the question of identity and individuality is the question of the role of women in marriage. Mrs. Mallard is known only as wife at the beginning of the story; Very little is revealed about Mr. and Mrs. Mallard's relationship. Even Louise isn't sure if they were happily married or not: "Yet she had loved him at times. Often he didn't. What did it matter! Therefore, the details of the relationship are less important than the conventions of marriage in general. Louise is thrilled when she realizes that "there would be no strong will to break her in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have the right to impose a private will on a fellow man." Whether one acts out of love or not,

media adjustments

  • "The Story of an Hour" was adapted into a 56-minute video in 1985,Kate Chopin: The Joy That KillsVerfügbar in Través de Films for the Humanities & Sciences.
  • An audiocassette of "The Story of an Hour" is available through Books in Motion (1992).

Chopin seems to be commenting on marriages in the 19th century, which gave one person, the man, the right to possess and dominate another, the woman. This subject, unpopular at a time when women weren't even allowed to vote, is explored in many of Chopin's other works, notablyThe awakening.


The plot of "The Story of an Hour" is simple: Mrs. Mallard, who is "suffering from a heart problem", is informed of her husband's death in a train accident. At first she is plagued by pain, but then she begins to feel a sense of freedom. As she leaves her room and goes downstairs, her husband appears at the front door. When Louise Mallard sees her husband alive, her heart breaks and she dies.

Stand point

The story is told from an independent and restricted third-person perspective. The reader identifies with Louise, the only character whose thoughts are accessible. At the beginning of the story, Louise is unable to reflect on her own experiences. As Louise becomes aware of her situation and emotions, the reader gains access to her thinking that reveals her character. When it comes back down, the reader quickly becomes disconnected from their thoughts. Chopin skillfully manipulates the narrative point of view to emphasize the story's theme.


The setting of The Story of an Hour is unspecified. It is set in Mallard's house, but Chopin doesn't offer many clues as to where or when the action takes place. This generic setting is consistent with the story's thematic focus on common and commonly accepted views about the appropriate role of women in society. In view of Chopin's other works and the concerns he expresses in this story and in other writings about the role of women in marriage, the reader can assume that the story takes place in Chopin's lifetime at the end of the 19th century. However, Chopin was known as a local colourist, a writer focused on a specific city in a specific location. In Chopin's case, his stories are often set between Cajun and Louisiana Creole societies. For this reason, it is widely believed that "The Story of an Hour" takes place in Louisiana.


Chopin uses irony, a technique that reveals the distance between what appears to be true and what is actually true, to conclude his story. In The One Hour Story there is an inconsistency between what the characters in the drama understand to be true and what the reader understands. What killed Mrs Mallard? While Brently Mallard, Richards, Josephine, and the doctors may think her weak heart was swept away by such sudden joy, readers suspect the sudden pain killed her. At the end of the story, the first line of the story, "Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was suffering from a heart problem", becomes ironic, referring to Mrs. Mallard's spiritual condition rather than a medical condition. The last line of the story, she died "of the joy that kills," is also ironic.


The story is set in spring, and Louise's "awakening" is symbolized by the rebirth of nature. Through her bedroom window, Louise sees nature, like herself, 'taking on the new life of spring'. The inner changes taking place inside Louise are reflected in what she sees: when she is distraught with grief, rain falls, and when she realizes her freedom, the sky clears. What happens outside the window corresponds to what happens to Louise.

historical context

The woman's question

The Story of an Hour was published in 1894, at a time when many social and cultural issues were preoccupying Americans. One of these, known as the "women's question," concerned the role that women should play in society. Charles DarwinThe Origin of Species(1892) had further fueled this controversy. Darwin's theory of evolution was used on both sides of the problem; Some argued that the theory supported women's self-assertion and independence, others felt that the theory showed that motherhood should be a woman's primary role in society.

Although women were not granted the right to vote until 1920, the struggle for their emancipation began in 1848 with the Seneca Falls ConventionNYTo express. Passage of the 15th Amendment ofUSAIn 1869, the Constitution was passed, giving black men the right to vote. Several prominent feminists, includingElizabeth Cady Stantonand Susan B. Anthony refused to support the amendment because it denied women the right to vote. Other suffragettes argued that women's suffrage would soon follow black suffrage. In 1890, these two factions combined to form the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). That year, Wyoming became the first state to grant women the right to vote. While the suffrage movement sought reform, the dominant Victorian culture viewed the self-sacrificing wife, dependent on her husband and devoted to her children, as the ideal of femininity.

Critical summary

Chopin was a popular writer during her lifetime and is best known today for her psychological novel.The awakening.

Topics for further study

  • Research marriage law in the 1890s and compare it to today's marriage laws. How has the institution of marriage changed in the last hundred years?
  • Talk about Mrs. Mallard as a compassionate character or as a cruel and selfish character. How might your own gender, age, class, or ethnicity affect your answer?
  • Do you think that Chopin's critique of the institution of marriage that Louise voiced is still applicable today?
  • Explore the suffrage movement of the late 19th century. How do Louise's reflections on her situation in society reflect the concerns of this movement? What worries are still problems today?

Chopin's portrayal of female self-assertion was considered immoral. When Chopin introduced "The Story of an Hour".centurymagazine, was rejected. Based on Chopin's collection of short stories,swamp peoplereceived critical acclaimModapublished the story. According to Barbara C. Ewell in her book,Kate Chopin,the editor ofCentury,R. W. Gilder, rejected the manuscript because of its feminist message. The magazine had published anti-suffragette articles during this period and promoted a view of women as selfless wives and mothers.

Since the 1960s, with the rise of the feminist movement, Chopin's fiction, including The Story of an Hour, has been rediscovered and is now celebrated for the very reasons it was denounced during her lifetime. From Seyersted, inKate Chopin: A Critical Biography,it raises the "self-assertion theme" of the story. Burt Bender, in his essay Kate Chopin's Lyrical Short Stories, argues that the story is a "shockingly unorthodox" expression of marital inequalities. Other critics, agreeing that the story is bold and offbeat, rate it

the view that Louise will become an independent and confident woman during the hour the story takes place. InOn the Edge of the Precipice: The Social Literature of Kate Chopin and Edith Wharton.Mary E. Papke considers the darker aspects of Chopin's vision of female identity. For Papke, the end of the story implies that if a woman sees herself as an individual and is then denied the chance to live freely, death or the dissolution of that new identity will result. Unless the world changes, Papke argues, Chopin suggests, there is no hope for independent and unconventional women to survive in society.

In addition to dealing with social issues, "The Story of an Hour" was also praised for its formal strengths. Chopin's use of irony and ambiguity has been praised by many critics. Other critics find fault with some formal aspects of the story. In an essay published in theMarkham's review,Madonne M. Miner discusses how readers react to the word order in the story. Focusing on Chopin's use of the passive voice, Miner argues that the story's themes of autonomy and identity are undermined by its grammatical structure. For example, Miner points out that Louise does not own her impulses but is "possessed" by them. Many of the story's key sentences, including the first, are written in the passive voice. Although the reader wants to identify with Louise's possession of herself, the language of the story keeps the reader at a distance from Miner.


Jennifer Hicks

Jennifer Hicks is the director of the Writing Assessment and Academic Support Program at Massachusetts Bay Community College. In the following essay she addresses the issue of female self-assurance in relation to “The Story of an Hour.

In Donald F. Larsson's entry about Kate Chopin incritical examination of short stories,we learn that “consistently . . . independent and strong-willed heroines. . . [who] view the institution of marriage with skepticism” are very characteristic of their stories. In "The Story of an Hour" we see less than we anticipate from Mrs. Mallard's skeptical gaze. Certainly we are told of the joy she feels at the freedom she finds in her husband's death, but we are not specifically told that she is skeptical about marriage in general. Indeed, if we took the last line of the story literally, we would understand that Mrs. Mallard was so in love with her marriage to her husband that she died from the thrill of knowing he was still alive. Apparently, however, Chopin engages in gross irony. Mrs. Mallard, the "downtrodden" young woman who began to see her widowhood as a rebirth akin to the "new spring" peeking through her window, did not give in to such excitement. She died of "heart trouble," an instant knowledge that her current vision of a "life she would live for herself," a "life that might be long," would not be.

(Video) The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin - Audiobook

Some of Chopin's short stories were rejected for publication on moral grounds, as publishers perceived in them an improper interest in female self-affirmation and sexual liberation. Per Seyersted, Chopin's biographer, writes about it in his introductionThe complete works of Kate Chopin,Volume 1 that the "reason several of his stories were rejected by the editors was most likely because his women were becoming more passionate and emancipated". Since "The Story of an Hour" was published in 1894, several

Compare the contrast

  • 1890:The suffrage movement is organized into the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). Wyoming is the first state to grant women the right to vote.

    Hey:Although efforts to add achange in equalityAlUSAAfter the failed constitution in 1982, women continue to gain political and cultural independence. Since 1988, more than 56 percent of women in the country have been employed.

  • 1890:Although more women than men attended high school in 1890, higher education is largely closed to women. Employment opportunities for women include domestic work, nursing and primary education.

    Hey:Education and employment opportunities are virtually equal for men and women, although many issues related to equality remain.

  • 1890:Although some women writers have achieved some success, it is still considered inappropriate for a woman to be a writer.Luisa May AlcottjSarah Orne JewettThey are two women writers who are growing in success and popularity.

    Hey:Many women writers of the late 19th century are rediscovered, including Chopin, who gained popularity during the women's movement of the 1960s.

Years after it was written we can understand the importance of moral reasons as the basis for rejection. Marriage was considered a sacred institution. Divorce was fairly rare in the 19th century, and when it did occur, men were automatically given legal control of all property and children. Even the constitutional amendments of 1868 and 1870 that granted citizenship and the right to vote granted those rights to African Americans, not women. Women were not granted the right to vote in political elections until the 1920s, and obviously a writer who wrote about women wanting independence was not very well received, especially when writing about a woman who was delighted at her husband's independence . The fact that she pays for her euphoria with her life at the end of the story is not enough to redeem either the character or the author.

Although The Story of an Hour is short, Chopin demonstrates her writing skills in several ways. Fred Lewis Pattee says inA History of American Literature since 1870,that the strength of Chopin's work stems from "a natural gift for storytelling, bordering on genius". Larsson notes his remarkable ability to "simply but completely convey character and setting". All of these qualities are evident in The Story of an Hour.

The story begins with the narrator telling us that Mrs. Mallard has "a heart problem". A cursory reading of the sentence might lead the reader to believe that this is what Mrs. Mallard didheart disease. However, Chopin chose his sentence carefully. She wants her readers to know that Ms. Mallard suffers from a very specific condition that affects the way her heart works. Later, when we see Mrs. Mallard "excited and relaxed," we realize the problem with her heart is that her marriage didn't allow her to "live alone."

Another example of Chopin's storytelling gift allows the reader to understand that what is being told is more than just a story. This illustration includes Mrs Mallard's reaction to the news of her husband's death: "She did not hear the story, as many women would have, with a crippling inability to accept its meaning." If a reader had paused at that sentence, he might have wondered what in marriage would keep Mrs. Mallard from bending over in pain. The reader may have wondered why

What am I reading next?

  • The awakening,Kate Chopin's 1899 novel tells the story of Edna Pointellier, a traditional wife and mother who "awakens" to sexual and spiritual independence after an extramarital affair.
  • "The Yellow Wallpaper" (1892) byCharlotte Perkins Gilmanis the story of a woman who lacks creativity and goes insane.
  • To learn more about the suffrage movement and struggle for women's rights in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, seeEighty Years and Older: Memoirs(1992), by the seminal feminist,Elizabeth Cady Stanton.
  • Adrian RicoThe poetry of , especially his collection,wreck diving(1973), examines feminism, female sexuality and the role of women in society.

Mrs. Mallard was not busy wondering how she would go on with her life without her husband. In the next line, however, we see that she is certainly grieving as she weeps from "savage devotion." We're a bit surprised at this point. A woman in a troubled marriage certainly wouldn't behave like this. At this point, Chopin has indicated that there is a problem, but also that Mrs. Mallard is not "paralyzed" by the meaning of being alone. Chopin elaborates on this when the narrator says that Mrs. Mallard "would not allow anyone to follow her". While the implication is that she would not allow anyone to follow her into her room, in retrospect the reader wonders if perhaps Mrs. Mallard also meant that she would not allow anyone to meddle in her life again.

It's also easy to come to the same conclusion as Larsson, that the setting is simple but definitely complete. The news takes place in an unspecified room in Mallard's house. The revelation of freedom occurs in the bedroom, and Mrs. Mallard's death occurs on the stairs leading to the front door, which her husband opened. Chopin gives us no details about the stairwell or the room where we first meet Mrs. Mallard. Although news of death and death itself occur in these areas and are certainly among the most tragic and momentous events in life, the setting could be anywhere. Instead, we are inundated – or overwhelmed – with detail in the bedroom where Mrs. Mallard becomes her own person. We see the "comfortable and roomy chair" in which he sits, "his head thrown back on the cushion." We see the "treetops". . . trembles with new spring life” that we can hear and smell from her window.

Some critics argue that Chopin cleverly softens the emotional elements inherent in Mrs. Mallard's situation. Although the excitement in Mrs. Mallard's bedroom is undeniable, the "Intelligent Mind Interruption" takes away from the reader the need to share the widow's grief and instead allows him to remain a spectator, just as eager to see as Mrs. Mallard , "which came to possess them." Other critics credit Chopin's reading of Charles Darwin and other scholars who credited the theory of "survival of the fittest" as the impetus or driving force behind his questioning of contemporary mores and the limitations placed on them. “Chopin implicitly questions the institution of marriage, perhaps as a by-product of his scholarly questioning of mores, but he does so in an intelligently tempered way.

Fatherless at the age of four, Chopin was certainly a product of his Creole heritage and was heavily influenced by his mother and maternal grandmother. Perhaps that's because she grew up in a female-dominated environment that wasn't a stereotypical product of her time, and thus wasn't able to adjust her writing to socially accepted themes. Chopin even went so far as to take over the management of her husband's company after his death in 1883. This demeanor, alongside her fascination with scientific principles, her upbringing, and fondness for feminist characters, seems to indicate that individuality, freedom, and joy were as important to Chopin as they were to the characters in his stories. However, critics seem to find it just as difficult to agree with Chopin's view of his own life as it is to accept the heroines of his stories. Per Seyersted believes that Chopin enjoyed "living alone as a freelance writer", but other critics have argued that Chopin was happily married and bore little resemblance to the characters in their stories.

Perhaps Larsson's analysis of Chopin inCritical analysis of short storiesbest summarizes Chopin's importance for today's readers. He writes: "Her concern for the place of women in society and marriage, her refusal to mix guilt with sexuality, and her narrative attitude of sympathetic detachment make her as relevant to modern readers as her keen ability to connect characters and environments convey. It can be inspiring to know that more than a century ago, women weren't necessarily that different than they are today. Certainly women have experienced and benefited from many newer technologies and changes in attitude, but for a woman finding her way in life can still present temporary difficulties. Chopin's "History of an Hour" illustrates many of these themes.

Fuente:Jennifer Hicks, PorShort stories for studentsStorm Research, 1997.

Maria E. Papke

In the following paragraph of a chapter in a longer work, Papke interprets "The Story of an Hour" as a story that warns of the consequences of what happens when "the individual changes and not the world.

. . "The Story of an Hour", for example, describes an everyday reality and meticulously analyzes that moment in a woman's life when the boundaries of the accepted everyday world are suddenly broken and the process of self-knowledge begins. Louise Mallard, dutiful wife and true woman, is kindly informed that her husband has died in a train accident. However, her reaction is uncharacteristic, and that is the subject of the story: what Louise thinks and feels when she is first drawn into solitude and introspection.

Louise appears in the opening as the frail, gentle, and devoted wife of a wealthy businessman;

Chopin wants his readers to know that Mrs. Mallard suffers from a very specific condition that affects the way her heart works. Later, when we see Mrs. Mallard "excited and relaxed," we realize the problem with her heart is that her marriage didn't allow her to "live alone."

at first her name is just that: Mrs. Mallard. Her initial reaction to the tragedy, however, points to a second Louise huddled within this social shell: "She has not listened to the story, as so many women have listened to her, with a paralyzed inability to accept its meaning. She cried immediately, with sudden, wild abandon in her sister's arms." Chopin is implying that perhaps part of Louise willingly accepts the news. It also suggests that Louise has already turned to a female world in which she is im Center stage as Louise subconsciously chooses to wrap herself in a female embrace rather than the arms of the friend who informs her of Mallard's death.In the middle of the story, set in Louise's bedroom, the reader explores and understands Louise and Chopin the reaction and possible action, the social self: Mrs. Mallard - and private female self - Louise.

Louise initially sits in front of an open window without thinking and lets the impressions of the outside and inside world sink in. She is exhausted physically and mentally, but she is still sensually receptive. She sees the "new spring life" in the blossoming trees, smells the rain, hears human and animal songs and a man who "cries his wares". She is like a tired girl dreaming a sad dream and a self-possessed young woman with hidden strengths. It's still Mrs Mallard.

(Video) The Story of an Hour || Kate Chopin || ISC Echoes || ISC Short Stories || ICSE Lerning ||

Sitting in "intelligent thought levitation," he feels something nameless coming through his senses. It's terrifying because it's not from her real world as a woman; it reaches them from the larger outside world and "owns" them. the unnameable, of course, is his self-confidence, which he embraces when he names his experience as emancipation rather than misery: “He said it over and over in a low voice: 'free, free, free!'. . . Her pulses were racing and the rushing blood warmed and relaxed every inch of her body. It is at this point that she begins to think, at the point that she is reborn through and into her body, an experience analogous to Edna Pontellier'sThe awakening.

Louise immediately recognizes her two selves and understands how both will coexist, with the old eventually giving way to the new self. Mrs. Mallard will weep for the husband who loved her, but Louise will finally revel in the "monstrous joy" of self-actualization, beyond the ideological constraints and oppressive effects of love:

she would live for herself. No strong will would break theirs in that blind insistence with which men and women believe they have the right to impose a private will on a neighbor. Kind intent or cruel intent didn't make the act seem less than a crime when she saw it in that brief moment of enlightenment.

And yet she had loved him sometimes. Often he didn't. What did it matter! What could love, the unsolved mystery, object to in this possession of self-assertion, which he suddenly recognized as the strongest impulse in his being!

It is only after Louise has embraced this new awareness, her sense of personal and spiritual freedom in a new world, that her sister calls her a woman. This is no doubt ironic since her sister only subconsciously acknowledges her; he may have little idea of ​​the revolution that took place in Louise's own room. However, Chopin does not allow for easy utopian endings, and the intrusion of Louise's sister into Louise's world also foreshadows the abrupt end of her "drinking an elixir of life through that open window".

Louise leaves her room and descends into her past world. Despite behaving like a "goddess of victory" and having transcended the confines of her past self, she is unarmed for the deadly intrusion of the past world through her front door. Brently Mallard opens his door and walks in unharmed. His return from the dead kills Louise, and Chopin's conclusion is the scathing, critical comment that everyone believed "she had died".heart disease– the joy that kills.”

The reader can easily be overwhelmed by the pathos of the story, a natural reaction when the reader becomes aware of the text, just as Louise awakens to self-awareness. Chopin offers the reader precisely this single point of identification: Louise, whose reflective powers have been suppressed, suddenly comes to life and is then brutally cut off. It's a disorienting read, even being cut off after Louise's new possibilities are awakened. It is also beyond irony to stick with the knowledge that only Louise and the reader perceived the earlier "death" of the real woman, Mrs. Mallard; and what killed her was indeed a monstrous joy, the birth of the individual self and the annihilation of that joy when her husband and, of necessity, her old self returned. Far from being a melodramatic ending, the conclusion is both informative and cautionary: when a woman sees the real world and her individual self within it, only to deny her the right to live that vision, then futility lies upon her way, selfishness . division and dissolution. Chopin's exploration of the ideology of femininity and the search for oneself takes on a darker undertone here. His earlier stories explored the destruction of the women who lived withintraditional society; this piece offers no escape for those who live outside of this world, only in a private world of their own. In any case, Chopin seems to say, self-forgetfulness exists when only the individual changes and not the world. . . .

Fuente:Mary E. Papke, „Kate Chopins Social Fiction“, inOn the edge of the abyss,Greenwood Press, 1990, Pages. 62-4.

Barbara C.Ewell

In the following excerpt, Ewell discusses "The Story of an Hour," noting in particular the dramatic tension created by the shift in perspective towards the end of the story..

. . . "The Story of an Hour" chronicles Louise Mallard's unexpected reaction to news of her husband Brently's death in a train accident. Mourning alone in her room, she gradually realizes that she has only lost chains: "Free! Free body and soul!', he continued to whisper." When her husband suddenly reappears, the death report is a mistake, she falls dead when she sees him, from "heart disease", the doctors announce, "for joy that kills ".

Chopin's handling of details shows how subtly he deals with this controversial material. Louise Mallard's heart disease, for example, the key to the final ironies and ambiguities, is introduced in the first movement like the loaded weapon of melodrama. But his illness gradually deepens in meaning from a physical detail, a symptom of tenderness and a reason to gently deliver bad news, to a deeply spiritual issue. The more we learn about Brently Mallard's bossy ways, and the greater his wife's relief, the better we understand his "heart trouble." In fact, this "problem" goes away with Brently's death and fatally doesn't return until he reappears.

But Chopin also reveals Louise's complicity in Mallard's subtle repression. His submission to her "blind perseverance" was the semblance of love, that self-sacrificing Victorian ideal. Glorified in fiction, Chopin had often denounced, for Louise and others, this love was the main goal of life. But through his new perspective, he understands that "love, the unsolved mystery," counts very little "against that possession of self-affirmation that he suddenly recognized as the strongest impulse in his being." As Chopin often points out, love is not a substitute for individuality; In fact, individuality is the precondition of love. Such a strong and unconventional assertion of female independence probably explainsof the centuryrejection. Her editor, R. W. Gilder, had jealously guarded the feminine ideal of sacrificial love, and that same summer he wrote an editorial against women's suffrage as a threat to family and home.

The backdrop, reflecting Chopin's local color theory, also reinforces his themes. Louise looks through an "open window" at a scene "trembling with new spring life". A renewed rain accompanies his "pain storm" followed by "blue spots in the sky." Then, specifically "through the sounds, the smells, the color that filled the air," "it" "comes" "crawling from the sky" toward them. Louise initially defends herself obediently and then succumbs helplessly. The sense of physical, even sexual, liberation that accompanies his assent to this nameless “thing” supports a vision of freedom that Chopin characteristically affirms as a human right as natural as procreation, spring, or even death.

The transformative power of this intuition is reflected in Louise's altered vision of the future, which she feared would last "only yesterday" but which she now "opened up to and stretched out her arms to." . . welcome.” But it is a false vision. The habit of oppression has made Louise so weak that her gaze at freedom, her birthright, does not empower her, but rather incapacitates her to cope with the everyday reality into which she is abruptly thrown back. In your conventional marriage, the vision is truly illusory.

“It is only after Louise has embraced this new awareness, her sense of personal and spiritual freedom in a new world, that her sister calls her a woman. This is no doubt ironic since her sister only subconsciously acknowledges her; he may have little idea of ​​the revolution that took place in Louise's own room.

Chopin skillfully manipulates the point of view to intensify the final revelation and the shifting perspectives on Louise's life. "Mrs. Mallard" appears to us from afar at first, but the focus gradually internalizes until we are locked in her thoughts, struggling with "Louise" for understanding. We see her "like a goddess of victory" as she descends the stairs, and as the When the door opens, we sympathize with the unsuspecting Brently and share his amazement at his sister-in-law's yelling and his girlfriend's futile effort at blocking her. His wife's opinion. The last sentence, which gives the doctors' clinical interpretation of his death, is even further away. That distance and the change it represents is crucial. To outsiders, the death of Louise Mallard is as misunderstood as her reaction to Brently's death. That even the respected medical profession misinterprets her breakdown belies the conventional view of female devotion and suggests that Louise Mallard is not the last woman whose behavior has been misinterpreted. . . .

Fuente:Barbara C. Ewell, "'One Night in Acadie': The Confidence of Success", enKate Chopin,Ungar Publishing, 1986, p. 101-1 88-9

Madonna in Minera

In the following scholarly essay, Miner interprets "The Story of an Hour" from the point of view of

"'Mrs. Mallard' appears to us at first from afar; but the focus gradually internalizes until we're locked into his thoughts, struggling with 'Louise' for understanding.”

a loving stylistsomeone who cares about specific meanings and word pairs for effect.

(Video) Understanding "Story of an Hour"

. . "The Story of an Hour" is based on "a woman's expression of surprisingly unorthodox feelings about her marriage"; so Bert Bender in an essay dedicated to Chopin's short stories. Similarly, Per Seyersted calls the story "an extreme example of the issue of self-assertion". Although both reviewers show considerable insight and insight, neither adequately explains the story's actual impact. As we progress through this short story, one element of our experience certainly points to self-affirmation and encourages us to have hope in ourselves and in Louise Mallard. But the text, with its caveats and denials, also undermines any possibility of realizing that hope. In contrast to the thematic movement towards self-assertion, the affective style reveals in the reader a more subtle movement towards doubt. Chopin stimulates the feeling that something, something vague, is wrong. After careful analysis, word by word and sentence by sentence, the reader discovers that Chopin denies his reader any information about the individuals who instigated or are responsible for the action in the story. Furthermore, while manipulating grammatical structures and conventions, Chopin frustrates the reader's expectations and confidence.

The plot of "The Story of an Hour" can be summarized very simply. After learning of her husband's death, Louise Mallard abandons her sister Josephine and Richards, her husband's friend, to the solitude of her upstairs bedroom. Josephine and Richards allow her to go, believing she needs time to vent her grief. However, as Louise reflects on the fact of Brently Mallard's death, her grief gives way to a much stronger feeling: a sense of joy at her own freedom. Louise realizes that she will be sad to see Brently's "kind and tender hands folded in death", but she also realizes that for the first time in years she really wants to live. While Louise is intoxicated with this newfound joy, Josephine, fearing that Louise might injure herself in her agony at Brently's death, begs her to leave the locked room and go downstairs. As the two women go down the stairs, Brently Mallard comes through the front door. Chopin comments: "I was far from the scene of the accident and didn't even know there had been one." When Louise sees her husband, she suffers from aHeart attackand die This simple, superficial plot belies the complexity of the prose style.

The first sentence of The Story of an Hour reads: "Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was suffering from a heart condition, great care was taken to bring her the news of her husband's death as gently as possible." Considered simply as a statement of fact, we could say that it conveys three messages: Mrs. Mallard has a heart condition; Mrs. Mallard's husband is dead; someone went to great lengths to inform Mrs. Mallard of her husband's death. However, if we look at how we proceed in the sentence, we discover a more complex level of meaning. The first word of the sentenceKnowledge,introduce a participle clause. A reader expects, and grammatical usage requires, that a primary positional participle modifies the subject of the subsequent independent clause. Chopin violates our expectations. As we move through the participle phrase and into the independent clause, we expect to experience itwerhe knows that Mrs. Mallard has a heart condition, but Chopin's passive construction – 'great care has been taken' – denies us that knowledge. The agent remains unknown. This denial is the first and perhaps the strongest example of Chopin's manipulation of sentence structure to withhold information about an agent. In this case, while we know what the phrase says, we can't be sure what it means. We must ask why the author refuses to disclose the trigger of an action after structuring her sentence to anticipate this information.

The reader's experience of the first sentence actually runs counter to the superficial communication of its main sentence: "Great care was taken in bringing the message to Mrs. Mallard." This clause suggests that the situation is under control, but Chopin's ungrammatical construction suggests exactly the opposite: our experience creates a very vague sense that despite 'great care' something is wrong. We don't know the source of our feeling any more than we know the agent in the first sentence, and our ignorance fosters a skepticism that further colors our reading. As a result, we can question another small deviation from common usage within the first sentence: why did Chopin choose to modify Mrs. Mallard's heart problem with the indefinite article?a?The most common construction would be simply: "Mrs. Mallard suffered from heart problems. The indefinite article implies that Ms Mallard suffers from a certain type of heart problem, and yet because we are not told sowhichDude, our desire for more knowledge is simultaneously frustrated when we learn that this information exists. The prose style withholds information and undermines our confidence as readers, so we begin Chopin's story with some hesitation, some trepidation.

The second paragraph begins with the identification of the agent who eludes us in the first: "It was her sister Josefina who gave her veiled clues in broken sentences that she revealed half-cover-ups." However, this identification is limited by Chopin's cold reporting tone and the "what" construction, a thematic construction that focuses on the agent and at the same timeobjectiveyou. As a focus of prayer, Josephineshouldbe its grammatical subject; instead it suffers relegation to the subordinate clause. So even if we are told who initiated an action, that agent's power is reduced. The meaningless "was" takes precedence. Chopin chose not to use the simpler 'Josephine told him', apparently because this more direct construction does not indicate the uncertainty that more distant phrasing allows. In his description of Josephine's broken sentences, Chopin points to the source of the uncertainty the reader experiences as the story progresses: "veiled clues revealing themselves half-hidden". We must conclude that Josephine is intentionally obscuring the details of Brently's death to spare Louise pain, but another conclusion is possible: Josephine's clues are "obfuscated" and "semi-hidden" because Josephine is unwittingly providing information that is not entirely TRUE . Although Chopin identifies the agent in this sentence ("It was Josephine"), the sentence as a whole undermines the competence of that agent. Thus, in the first two paragraphs of The Story of an Hour, we are confronted with two cases in which matter and form come into conflict. Neither of these cases is self-evident, but an affectively stylistically informed reader cannot help feeling that he is experiencing something unusual here, and something that does not bode well.

The next two sentences in the second paragraph do nothing to alleviate these feelings. “Her husband's friend, Richards, was there too, close by. It was he who had been in the newspaper office when the information about the rail disaster came in, with the name Brently Mallard at the top of the 'dead' list.” This sentence too seems simple: we are toldwerRichards is ("her husband's friend"), as well aswohe is ("there near her"); and these simple facts put the reader at ease. However, the calm is only temporary. The next sentence begins with "was," which has the same effect here as before: it focuses, then subordinates, reducing the power associated with a fully realized agent-verb construction. Three other aspects of this phrase also diminish or deny our sense of agency. First, by using the passive verb in the adverbial clause “when information about the rail disaster came in”, Chopin refuses to reveal who sent the message. Second, it tells us that Brently MallardNametops the hit list. While it is not uncommon to convey information about a man's death by stating that his "name" (only part of the man) heads a list, this synecdoche distances the reader, if only slightly, from the death of the whole man. Finally Chopin closessensitivebetween quotation marks; Again, this may be idiomatic, but in the context of the first three sentences of this story, even idioms become suspect. . . .

Louise immediately reacted to the news of Brently's death: "She cried immediately, with sudden, wild abandon in her sister's arms. When the storm of pain subsided, she went alone to her room. Chopin presents us with a pattern of affirmation and denial; we read one sentence in which Louise seems to be acting, only to find out in the next that something is affecting her. Louise is crying, but has given in to the "storm of sorrow" that must pass before Louise can go to her room. Repeating this pattern increases its effectiveness. Just two sentences after the previous sentences we find the following: "Into this chair she sank oppressed by a physical exhaustion that haunted her body and seemed to reach her soul." We can't even blame Louise for her own downfall; "a physical exhaustion"pushesher down. But the most revealing example of this pattern is found a few paragraphs later. Sitting in a chair by the window, Louise watches the "signs of a new spring life":

“Chopin presents us with a pattern of affirmation and denial; We read one sentence in which Louise appears to be acting, only to find out in the next that she issubmittedsomething, thatactElla."

"She sat on the cushion of her chair, head thrown back, completely still except as a sob rose in her throat and she shook." Louise obviously has far less control than these sobs, which shake her and strangely seem independent of the woman from whose throat they come. . . .

At this point we would like to applaud Louise's action; We want to encourage their independence. But our experience of ambiguity forces us to hesitate before approving Louise's devotion to an unknown "something"; Educated by the text, we sense the danger here. The words that describe this delivery cannot ease our fear. We read a series of sentences that focus on the parts rather than the whole (her eyes "remained sharp and bright. Her pulse was racing and the rushing blood warmed and relaxed every inch of her body"), and then we said: "She didn't stop to ask if it was a monstrous joy gripping her or not. A clear and elevated perception enabled him to dismiss the proposal as trivial. Louise might not stop questioning the potentially monstrous quality of her joy, thoughusmake. After all, joy is loosely specified (it may be monstrous, but we don't know exactly), but it "holds" Louise. So we could also question the adjectives "clear and sublime" as modifiers of "perception". Up to this point nothing in our experience has been clear and sublime; Having faced one ambiguity after another, we are skeptical of the simple claim to clarity.

We follow Louise's mental and physical movements during her "brief moment of enlightenment". She remembers her husband's "kind and tender hands" and realizes that she will cry again at the sight of the corpse. But if he looks even further into the future, he knows he will revel in his loneliness; he opens his arms to the long procession of years "that would absolutely be his." However, given Louise's history of helplessness, we're suspicious of her ability to command these years. Chopin corroborates this assumption a few sentences later in a statement about Louise's feelings about love and self-affirmation: "What could love, the unsolved mystery, count against this possession of self-affirmation, which she suddenly recognized as the strongest push? of his essence." The phrase itself seems to imply that Louise possesses this drive, but the entire description up to this point suggests that Louiseis obsessed withthe impulse Because of Chopin's formulation, both active and passive possibilities exist simultaneously; Louise is both subject and object. . . .

Josephine, terrified that Louise is getting sick (ironically, Josephine's perception of Louise's illness differs from both the reader's and Louise's), calls out to her from outside the locked door. Louise opens the door and the two women go down the stairs. After the momentous event of the preceding paragraphs, Louise's decision to live alone, the pace of the sentence seems too easy here. Below this smooth surface lies a fault. Then: “Someone opened the front door with a key. It was Brently Mallard who came in." In two sentences, our unspoken questions, our unconscious suspicions, all stemming from Chopin's refusal to provide us with the information we expected, fall into place. The first sentence recalls "Someone opened the door". recall Louise's description of delight: "Something was coming toward her . . . what was it? She didn't know; it was too subtle and slippery to name." Information.In the second case, however, Chopin gives us the full account: the agent is no longer "subtle and elusive" but embodied in the guise of Brently Mallard.Although "was" expressed in the journalistic construction, this emphatic identification is impressive. We sense something is wrong throughout the story, but the review is terribly frustrating, we don't want the story to end like this: Trot With all the evidence, we hope that we are wrong and that our assumptions are misplaced. But the story ends. Louise sees her husband. "When the doctors came, they said he died of heart disease, of joy that kills."

An almost inevitable reaction to reading this story for the first time is to read it again. Multiple readings reveal even more clearly the cumulative effect of Chopin's subtle textual manipulations. Looking at the story as a whole, we find that the haunting impact of the first sentence is amplified as we engage in instances of disjunction and pronominalization, ambiguity, and agent reduction. Our positive feelings about Louise's assertiveness are evaluated word for word. Although Louise struggles with some moments of anxious anticipation, her progress toward self-assertion is based on "news" and "veiled clues," and she indulges in an undefined "something" without pausing to ask if it is or is it Not. a "monstrous joy". As much as we would like to follow it, the route is closed to us. The accumulated experience of the text does not allow for such a simple complicity.

Fuente:Madonne M. Miner, „Veiled Advice: An Affective Stylist’s Reading of Kate Chopins ‚History of an Hour‘“, inMarkham's review,vol. 11, Winter, 1982, S. 29-32.


Bender, Bert. "Lyric Tales of Kate Chopin",studies in short novel,volume XI, no. 3, Summer 1974, pp. 257-66.

Ewell, Barbara C.Kate Chopin,Editorial Ungar, 1986.

Larsson, Donald F. „Kate Chopin“, enMagill's critical study of short stories,edited by Frank N. Magill, Salem Press, 1981, pp. 1131-36.

Pattee, Fred Lewis. "The Triumph of History", in hisA History of American Literature since 1870,Cooper Square Publishers, 1968, p. 355-8

Seyersted, Per.Kate Chopin: A Critical Biography,Louisiana State University Press, 1969.

Other reading

Literary criticism of the 20th centuryvol. 14, Research Gale, 1984.


Contains a helpful introduction and previously published reviews of Chopin's work, both positive and negative.


Why is The Story of an Hour controversial? ›

The Story of an Hour was considered controversial during the 1890s because it deals with a female protagonist who feels liberated by the news of her husband's death. In Unveiling Kate Chopin, Emily Toth argues that Chopin "had to have her heroine die" in order to make the story publishable.

What is the full story of story of an hour about? ›

What is "The Story of an Hour" About? "The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin is about Louise Mallard, a woman in a traditional Victorian marriage, who receives the news that her husband was killed in an accident. After her grief subsides, she begins to see opportunity and freedom in her future.

What is the message from The Story of an Hour? ›

“The Story of an Hour” reflects Chopin's view of the repressive role that marriage played in women's lives as the protagonist, Louise Mallard, feels immense freedom only when her husband has died. While he is alive, she must live for him, and only when he dies does her life once again become her own.

Is The Story of an Hour Based on a true story? ›

Mallard, if you had been a friend or a relative of hers, if you understood the way she thinks and watched the way she has been acting throughout her life — then maybe you could find some evidence to help you answer your question. But “The Story of an Hour” is fiction.

What is the irony in The Story of an Hour? ›

Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour"--which takes only a few minutes to read--has an ironic ending: Mrs. Mallard dies just when she is beginning to live. On first reading, the ending seems almost too ironic for belief.

What does Mrs. Mallard's heart disease symbolize? ›

The heart trouble that afflicts Louise is both a physical and symbolic malady that represents her ambivalence toward her marriage and unhappiness with her lack of freedom.

What does the joy that kills mean in The Story of an Hour? ›

The author used symbolism to display Mrs. Mallard's desire for freedom from her marriage. In the end it was not joy that killed Mrs. Mallard but the realization that she lost her.

What does the title The Story of an Hour symbolize? ›

The title of the short story refers to the time elapsed between the moments at which the protagonist, Louise Mallard, hears that her husband, Brently Mallard, is dead, and then discovers that he is alive after all.

What is the conclusion for The Story of an Hour? ›

The ending of "The Story of an Hour" is a classic fake-out. The event that starts the story off – Mr. Mallard's death – is completely undone in the conclusion. It's the opposite of a linear life story because he starts out dying and ends up alive.

What are the two main themes in The Story of an Hour? ›

Freedom and Independence

Though Louise is at first genuinely upset by the news of Brently's death—and though she makes it clear that she will greatly mourn the loss of her husband—over the course of the hour in which she believes him to be dead, she comes to…

What does Mrs. Mallard symbolize in The Story of an Hour? ›

Chopin includes many different symbols to the transformation of Mrs. Mallard; this is shown with the symbolism of her heart trouble, the open window representing her new life, and the final transformation before her death. To begin with, Mrs. Mallard's heart trouble is symbolic of her physical and mental well being.…

What does the Mallard symbolize in The Story of an Hour? ›

The whole story describes the events in the life of a woman whose husband was killed in an accident. Kate Chopin uses the death of Mr. Mallard as a symbol of freedom and the death of Mrs. Mallard is a symbol of the end of her liberty.

What causes Mrs. Mallard's death? ›

Answer and Explanation: Mrs. Louise Mallard's death was ruled ''heart disease'' by the doctors that came after her collapse. They determined that it was from joy, believing that she was so overwhelmed with emotion from seeing her presumed-dead husband that her heart couldn't physically handle it.

Did Mr Mallard love his wife in The Story of an Hour? ›

Mallard was nothing but nice to his wife, and never did anything to make her feel like his death would be a blessing.

Was Mr Mallard abusive in The Story of an Hour? ›

Critics have described Mr. Mallard as being abusive, and harmful to his wife. In the story Chopin writes, “ she will weep again when she saw the kind, tender hands folded in death...” (Chopin) This quote is an example that Mr.

What is the foreshadowing in The Story of an Hour? ›

Foreshadowing Examples in The Story of an Hour:

Now, her own thoughts take center stage—“What was it?” is a question she is actually asking herself—and the whole tone of the story becomes more optimistic and excited. This optimism foreshadows her eventual feeling about the news of her husband's death.

What is the main conflict in The Story of an Hour? ›

In “The Story of an Hour” by Chopin, the main conflict prominent in the short story is, 'is having the happiness of new-found freedom still valid when it is gained through a loss' because it…show more content…

What figure of speech is used in The Story of an Hour? ›

Figurative Language: Chopin's use of metaphors and similes serves two purposes: to convey Louise's physical condition and to illustrate the power of her epiphany.

Why do you think Louise had a weak heart? ›

Louise's Weak Heart Symbol Analysis. Louise's heart trouble symbolizes her emotional delicacy. It presents her with a conundrum: allow herself to experience the full capacity of human feeling and consequently risk her health, or stifle and repress her emotions in order to go on living a compromised life.

Why does Louise suffer a heart disease towards the end of The Story of an Hour? ›

We know that she had a weak heart--it was explained that the train accident was explained carefully in order to prevent an adverse reaction--and the doctors assume that she died at his sight from the “joy” of seeing him. “The joy that kills” they called it.

What medical problem afflicts Mrs. Mallard The Story of an Hour? ›

Louise suffers from a heart problem, which indicates the extent to which she feels that marriage has oppressed her.

What is symbolized by her weeping in The Story of an Hour? ›

Weeping. Louise's weeping about Brently's death highlight the dichotomy between sorrow and happiness.

What does crying his wares mean? ›

2. To proclaim or announce in public: crying one's wares in the marketplace. 3.

What does the sky symbolize in The Story of an Hour? ›

The sky is also a representation of Mrs. Mallard's situation. While the clouds represent the shadow of her marriage, the patches of blue sky represent her bright, new life (Rosenblum 2).

What are 2 symbols in The Story of an Hour? ›

Symbols, such as the setting, Louise's heart trouble, and the open window, play an integral role in the development of “The Story of an Hour”, as they are used to reinforce the overarching theme of the desire for independence.

What does the latch key symbolize in The Story of an Hour? ›

The fact that there is a latchkey on the door, shows Mr. Mallard's ownership on Mrs. Mallard's outside life.

What does the armchair symbolize in The Story of an Hour? ›

Immediately after the news of her husband's death, Mrs. Mallard races upstairs into her room where she settles into “a comfortable, roomy armchair” (para. 4). The armchair symbolizes the rest from the oppressive life she had and freedom from society's expectations.

What is a good thesis statement for The Story of an Hour? ›

The theme of "The Story of An Hour" focuses on a woman's lack of freedom from a male-dominated relationship, and we see this theme played out in the oppressive language, the illness of the character, and the imagery of life and nature only seen through a window.

What is the best choice for theme of The Story of an Hour? ›

Theme: Women's Freedom in Marriage

The freedom she feels here isn't relief because her husband mistreated her, as his face “had never looked save with love upon her.” It's simply that she's no longer subject to a “powerful will bending hers.”

Who is the antagonist in The Story of an Hour? ›

2. Who (or what) is the antagonist? The antagonist of “The Story of an Hour” is the societal expectations of women during the Victorian Age. At that time, few women had an identity outside of their husband and family.

What does the yellow wallpaper symbolize? ›

The yellow wallpaper in "The Yellow Wallpaper" is a symbol of society and patriarchy. It is ugly, faded, and torn in some spots, and a figure of a woman is trapped in the paper. It symbolizes women, or the woman in the story, being trapped within the constraints of a patriarchal society.

What ailment illness is Mrs. Mallard afflicted with? ›

Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with a heart trouble, great care was taken to break to her as gently as possible the news of her husband's death.

What does the house symbolize in The Story of an Hour? ›

Then what she sees through the window symbolizes a new beginning and her desire to start living for her. It is an opening to a new life, filled with new possibilities. The house represents her old life and everything outside the window represents how good her life could be.

What does Louise say repeatedly while looking out of the window? ›

“She said it over and over under her breath: 'free, free, free! '”

Was brently Mallard a good husband? ›

Brently is a kind and loving husband to Louise, but despite that is an impediment to Louise's freedom simply through the institution of marriage.

Was Mrs. Mallard sad about her husband's death? ›

When her husband is killed in a train accident Mrs. Mallard cries, but for different reasons than would be expected. She is sad for her husband's death, but, moreover, she is overcome with joy.

What is the most likely cause of Mrs. Mallard's death in The Story of an Hour? ›

Mallard ironically dies from a "heart disease-of-joy that kills" (Chopin 202). However she doesn't die from the joy of seeing her husband, but from the thought that the joy she experienced is now over.

What do we learn about Louise's husband? ›

Louise's husband, supposedly killed in a train accident. Although Louise remembers Brently as a kind and loving man, merely being married to him also made him an oppressive factor in her life. Brently arrives home unaware that there had been a train accident.

Why do the doctors think Mrs. Mallard dies in The Story of an Hour? ›

The doctors think that Mrs. Mallard died because of the joy of seeing her husband again. However, Mrs. Mallard dies because of the shock of seeing her husband and sadness from realizing that the joy she felt was over.

What is the main problem in The Story of an Hour? ›

The major conflict seen in this story is person versus society. Societal rules and expectations imposed upon men and women creates an animosity between them. A woman is expected only to take care of the private sphere but not make an appearance in the public sphere whereas the man is not imposed with such rules.

What is the critique about The Story of an Hour? ›

❓ What does The Story of an Hour critique? The Story of an Hour criticizes the typical experience of marriage in the 1890s. For women, such marriage was repressive and meant their loss of personal freedoms. Therefore, the story criticizes the society of that time dominated by men.

How does The Story of an Hour relate to feminism? ›

The feminist perspective that is shown in The Story of an Hour, is that the sensation of freedom that Louise did not have but experience after she was told that her husband was killed in a train accident, For 60 minutes Louise praised the wonder of being unchained from a commanding husband.

Why The Story of an Hour is symbolic of modern feminism? ›

The story shows how married women were not happy in their married life and were dependent upon their husbands. This reflects how women were struggling hard to find their identity. The story perfectly depicts the feelings of a wife in the late nineteenth century.

What is meant by the very last line of the story? ›

Last lines teach us lessons, give us memorable images, and provide the note that carries the reader away from the story and back into his or her world. If ever there were a place to make every word count, your last line is it.

Why is it called The Story of an Hour? ›

The title of the short story refers to the time elapsed between the moments at which the protagonist, Louise Mallard, hears that her husband, Brently Mallard, is dead, and then discovers that he is alive after all.

Why should people read The Story of an Hour? ›

'The Story of an Hour' captures the very essence of Pagglait perfectly, and several concepts in the former can be explained using instances from the latter. Both tales proficiently examine the nuances of marriage and the complications of relationships, which are not as fluffy as they appear to be.

What is the Marxism in The Story of an Hour? ›

The Story of an Hour can also be viewed through the Marxist lens as social, political, and logic obstructions are created when one lacks power over their lives. The Marxist lens is depicted when there is a brief sentiment of freedom felt by Mrs.

What is the theme of existentialism in The Story of an Hour? ›

The themes expressed are societies view on women, and the search for self-identity, which means that women struggled to have a voice and a life outside of their family and home.

Why did Chopin write The Story of an Hour? ›

I believe the events in her life greatly influenced her writing--from her father's death in a railroad accident, when she was five years old, to the time after the death of her own husband. Chopin died young (44), yet she had twelve years of married life and twelve years of widowhood packed into those forty-four years.

What is the most significant symbol in The Story of an Hour? ›

Perhaps the most important symbol of the story is the open window located in the bedroom belonging to Louise. Immediately after hearing of her husband's death, she runs to her room to be alone, and locks the door. She refuses to open the door for her sister, and turns to the window instead.

Is the ending of The Story of an Hour meaningful and justified? ›

The ending of "The Story of an Hour" is a classic fake-out. The event that starts the story off – Mr. Mallard's death – is completely undone in the conclusion. It's the opposite of a linear life story because he starts out dying and ends up alive.


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