Literary Analysis on Kate Chopin’s The Story of an Hour

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Kate Chopin’s “The Story of An Hour” focuses on a woman named Louise Mallard and her reaction to finding out about her husband’s death. The descriptions that the author uses in the story have significance in the plot because they foreshadow the ending.
This story mainly follows a woman with heart trouble. Her husband’s name appears at the top of a list of people killed in a railroad accident. The story than explains her reaction upon finding out about his death. At the end of the story, her husband (who never actually even knew about the accident) shows up at the door of their house. When she sees him, she has a heart attack and dies.
Chopin describes her as a fragile woman. Because she was “afflicted with a heart trouble,” when she receives notification of her husband’s passing, “great care was taken” to break the news “as gently as possible” (1). Josephine, her sister, and Richards, her husband’s friend, expect her to be devastated over this news, and they fear that the depression could kill her because of her weak heart. Richards was “in the newspaper office when the intelligence of the railroad disaster was received, with Brently Mallard’s name leading the list of killed” (1). He therefore is one of the first people to know about his death. Knowing about Mrs. Mallard’s heart, he realizes that they need to take caution in letting Mrs. Mallard know about it. Josephine told her because Richards feared “any less careful, less tender” person relaying the message to Louise Mallard (1). Because of her heart trouble, they think that if the message of her husband’s death is delivered to her the wrong way, her heart would not be able to withstand it. They also think that if someone practices caution in giving her the message, that, ...

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...that Chopin describes her eyes in this story shows elation. The author describes her joy over her husband’s death as monstrous to give the reader the idea that she feels extreme joy over an event that would normally elicit the opposite reaction in a person.
The descriptions in the story foreshadow the tragedy that ends the story. The author believed unexpected things happen often. In the case of this story, Louise Mallard believed her husband to be dead, having been told this by her sister, Josephine. However, when it is revealed that her husband had been alive the whole time, she is unhappy to see him and suffers a fatal heart attack. While she did have heart trouble, Richards and Josephine thought that the news of her husband’s death, not her seeing him again would be detrimental to her health, possibly even fatal. Chopin succeeded in getting this message across.

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