Analysis Of The Story ' The Story Of An Hour ' Essay

Analysis Of The Story ' The Story Of An Hour ' Essay

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Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” comprises clashing expectations and desires in an ironic fashion. The protagonist, Louise, mainly desires to live life free from the will of others—to “live for herself.” Her brief liberation comes from the news that her husband had died that morning in a train crash. From that moment onwards, the story revolves entirely around the idea of freedom, including several metaphors and visual images depicting free will, eventually culminating in the protagonist’s ultimate freedom--death. However, the idea of freedom cannot form without having experienced bondage in some form. I argue that the focus of this work lies in its theme and symbolizations of both liberty and subjection. The symbols of the open window, the front door of the house, and the protagonist’s fatal heart attack all represent transitions toward freedom, whereas Louise’s husband and locked room signify the servitude she experiences.
Foremost, the open window appears as the first and most obvious symbols of freedom. Through the window, Louise sees “the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life” and hears “The notes of a distant song.” Spring is ubiquitous as a symbol for new life, a role it reprises in “The Story of an Hour.” The window provides a sense of hope and new life which Louise greatly anticipates. It offers a glimpse into her possible future, bringing hope and anticipation, but also condemning Louise to the surprised heart attack she will experience when her husband comes home. The importance of the window becomes understood when one considers the scene without it—a dark room with no place for introspection and no obvious connection to the outside world—in other words, a prison. As a symbol, the window demons...


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...r desire for freedom, making it apparent to the reader that this theme permeates and composes the entirety of the short story.
The importance and impact of these five symbols, each relating in some way to the idea of freedom, prove that this same theme forms a focal point for the whole work. The open window, the front door, and the heart attack each represent a transition toward freedom in some form or another, whereas Brently Mallard and the locked room characterize the entanglement and oppression experienced by Louise. The combination of both of these sets of symbols, each of which contributes in a major way to the advancement of the plot, irrevocably demonstrates the pivotal nature of the theme of freedom within the story—that is, the story cannot exist in the same way independent of it. In short, “The Story of an Hour” synonymizes with a story for self-reliance.

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