“The Story of an Hour” Plot Analysis
“The Story of an Hour,” by Kate Chopin tells the fictional account of a woman who learns of her husband dying in a train crash and the ensuing hour after she is given that news. Within that hour, the protagonist Mrs. Mallard grieves over the loss of her husband, but also realizes a newfound freedom that she didn’t have being married. Chopin focuses on the theme of freedom, especially in terms of a woman’s role in marriage at the time the story was published (December 1894). In the short story “The Story of an Hour,” author Kate Chopin uses elements of the plot to evoke empathy and demonstrate how marriage affected a woman’s freedom in the late nineteenth century.
When Mrs. Mallard retreats to her room, she looks out the window at the world outside. The window symbolizes her new future as a free woman, outside the confinement of the walls of her home. Chopin describes “the new spring life,” “the delicious breath of rain,” and the “patches of blue sky showing here and there through the clouds.” (174). The springtime conditions symbolize a new chapter, a rebirth of sorts, which is Mrs. Mallard’s freedom. These springtime conditions can also signify American women in general at the time the story was written. Women of the late 1800s were starting to gain more freedoms, especially in gaining employment outside of the
Through the use of a concise plot, symbolism, descriptive setting, point of view, and dramatic irony, readers are left with a strong feeling of empathy for the protagonist, Mrs. Mallard. Through each paragraph of the story, readers continue to feel empathetic for the woman who grieves the loss of her husband, gains a new feeling of freedom outside of the restrictions of marriage, then loses that freedom when she discovers that her husband is not dead, all within an hour’s time. While women’s independence and freedom within marriage could still be a topic reflected in today’s literature, it would be a much different story than that of Chopin’s time. At the time this story was written, women were expected to do whatever it took to please and cater to their husbands. This story seems to draw from the changes of that time as women were beginning to gain more independence in their lives as in the suffrage movement, marriage, and employment outside the home. Much has changed in women’s rights since the end of the nineteenth century, which is a result of the work of women like Kate
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Mallard felt restricted in her marriage and displays the need for independence. Symbolism is used to exemplify the transformation from Mrs. Mallard’s unconscious, numb existence to Louise’s new founded freedom. Chopin uses the seasons to symbolize the new life taking place within Louise. This new world appears before her through the world displayed through her bedroom window. The reader views her as motionless with her dull stare transformed into a gaze focus off yonder, symbolizing her future. The unknown feeling of freedom grew closer to Louise. Mrs. Mallard gains this “possession of self-assertion which she suddenly recognized as the strongest impulse of her being.” This alludes to Mrs. Mallard’s desire for independence.
In Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour”, it talks about marriage and a woman’s life in the 1800’s. This story illustrates the stifling nature of a woman’s role during this time through Mrs. Mallard’s reaction to her husband’s death. When Mrs. Mallard obtains news that her husband is dead, she is hurt after a brief moment and then she is delighted with the thought of freedom. This story shows how life was in the mid 1800’s and how women were treated around that time.
A Woman Far Ahead of Her Time, by Ann Bail Howard, discusses the nature of the female characters in Kate Chopin’s novel’s and short stories. Howard suggests that the women in Chopin’s stories are longing for independence and feel torn between the feminine duties of a married woman and the freedom associated with self-reliance. Howard’s view is correct to a point, but Chopin’s female characters can be viewed as more radically feminist than Howard realizes. Rather than simply being torn between independent and dependant versions of her personality, “The Story of an Hour’s” Mrs. Mallard actually rejoices in her newfound freedom, and, in the culmination of the story, the position of the woman has actually been elevated above that of the man, suggesting a much more radically feminist reading than Howard cares to persue.
“The Story of the Hour” by Kate Chopin portrays an opposing perspective of marriage by presenting the reader with a woman who is somewhat untroubled by her husbands death. The main character, Mrs. Louise Mallard encounters the sense of freedom rather than sorrow after she got knowledge of her husbands death. After she learns that her husband, Brently, is still alive, it caused her to have a heart attack and die. Even though “The Story of the Hour” was published in the eighteen hundreds, the views of marriage in the story could coincide with this era as well.
In "The Story of an Hour" Kate Chopin tells the story of a woman, Mrs. Mallard whose husband is thought to be dead. Throughout the story Chopin describes the emotions Mrs. Mallard felt about the news of her husband's death. However, the strong emotions she felt were not despair or sadness, they were something else. In a way she was relieved more than she was upset, and almost rejoiced in the thought of her husband no longer living. In using different literary elements throughout the story, Chopin conveys this to us on more than one occasion.
In her story “The Story of an Hour,” Kate Chopin (1894) uses imagery and descriptive detail to contrast the rich possibilities for which Mrs. Mallard yearns, given the drab reality of her everyday life. Chopin utilizes explicit words to provide the reader a background on Mrs. Mallard’s position. Chopin uses “She wept at once,” to describe Mrs. Mallard’s emotional reaction once she was told her husband had been “Killed.” Mrs. Mallard cared for and loved her husband; being married was the only way of life that she knew.
Chopin shows that some social pressures and responsibilities can in fact hold one back from their own potential as was Mrs. Mallard. Marriage was introduced as one of these social expectations, and Mrs. Mallard’s internal conflict shows the reader that sometimes it is hard to question these normalities. By creating such an internal visual of Mrs. Mallard, Chopin provides a tale of the true importance of seeing past socialistic deception, and choosing to find happiness beyond
Chopin displays a need for more independent women in this piece, suggesting that wronged womanhood is the simple fact that society didn’t allow them to be on the same level with men. Mrs. Mallard realizes a “possession of self-assertion which she suddenly recognized as the strongest impulse of her being.” This suggests a dying will for independence. Mrs. Mallard realizes that she can now rely upon her self for everything and it will become her number one driving factor in life. After she realizes this, Chopin says Mrs. Mallard thinks “spring days, and summer days, and all sorts of days that would be her own.” When she has days to herself, she will have no one to tell her what to do, as this line suggests her husband used to.
Mallard at the end of the story stands for the suffrage of women during this time to be free. She would rather die than lose her newfound freedom. Chopin’s biography before the story states “[t]he loss of her husband, however, led to her assuming responsibilities…Eventually devoting herself entirely to writing” (30). Her success was found only after she was free from her marriage; Chopin herself could have been hinting to the fact the she would have rather died than lose her own freedom. Chopin also uses the heart condition to kill Mrs. Mallard. She writes “the doctors…said she had died of a heart disease—of the joy that kills” (32). The metaphor of the heart condition standing for the weakness put on women returns with her husband. She is no longer strong and free; she is weak and trapped by her marriage. Chopin uses this purposely to show that women are weak in marriage and need to be set
Mallard through the acts of forbidden joy and the oppression of marriages contributes to the understanding of the work and the time that it was written. The story opens with the reader knowing that Mrs. Mallard was, “afflicted with heart trouble” (Chopin, 15), suggesting a more symbolic notion that she is ambivalent towards her marriage and expresses her unhappiness towards he lack of freedom. Mrs. Mallard ultimately throughout the story questions the meaning of love and rejects it as meaningless. It is arguable to say that Chopin was influenced by women’s roles and other writings at the time, which contributed to her understanding of the meaning of love and courtship. This understanding could be said that it was altered and became more dejected. When Mrs. Mallard dies in the end of the story, it is ironic that she was to die of “heart disease.” This particular death proves that Chopin’s claims of the loss of joy and the return to oppression would kill a woman in this time since independence was a right to be given through the death of their husbands. Another symbolic figure that Chopin uses is the use of the open window, which Mrs. Mallard sees, “blue sky showing here and there through the clouds” (Chopin, 15). The window is Mrs. Mallard’s salvation, ultimately concluding that Chopin doesn’t see any other way for women to be free of their prison during this time. This window acts as a barrier between life and death itself. Once Mrs. Mallard turns away
...Mallard’s death up to the reader’s own interpretation, but it seems that she is trying to secretly prove that women do not have to be dependent upon men. Chopin demonstrates throughout the literary work that women can possess joy without having a man by their side, which contradicts the beliefs of the 1800’s society. Chopin’s use of an ambiguous death and irony successfully create an entertaining story that courageously takes a stand for women’s freedom.
...giving it boundaries and distinctive characteristics about the situation. Setting preys upon reader stereotypes and preconceptions about the certain time frame or location in which the story takes place in order to bring out more meaning. In this work, Chopin develops the story based on the reader's knowledge and understanding of a woman's place in late nineteenth-century America. But the specific setting--the time of year and the structure of the Mallard house--also gives clues to help readers understand Louise and attempt to determine the cause of her death. Louise may die of heart disease, as the doctors say at the end of the story, but setting indicates that the disease was not "joy that kills" (14).
In Kate Chopin's "Story of an Hour" the author portrays patriarchal oppression in the institution of marriage by telling the story of one fateful hour in the life of a married woman. Analyzing the work through feminist criticism, one can see the implications of masculine discourse.
In the short story, “The Story of an Hour,” author Kate Chopin presents the character of Mrs. Louis Mallard. She is an unhappy woman trapped in her discontented marriage. Unable to assert herself or extricate herself from the relationship, she endures it. The news of the presumed death of her husband comes as a great relief to her, and for a brief moment she experiences the joys of a liberated life from the repressed relationship with her husband. The relief, however, is short lived. The shock of seeing him alive is too much for her bear and she dies. The meaning of life and death take on opposite meaning for Mrs. Mallard in her marriage because she lacked the courage to stand up for herself.
Kate Chopin, author of “The Story of an Hour” written in 1894 was the first author who emphasized strongly on femininity in her work. In the short story, Chopin writes about freedom and confinement Chopin is an atypical author who confronts feminist matter years before it was assumed. The time period that she wrote in women were advertised as a man’s property. The main idea in the short story is to illustrate that marriage confines women. In “The Story of an Hour” the author creates an intricate argument about freedom and confinement Mrs. Louise Mallard longing for freedom, but has been confined for so long freedom seems terrible. Mrs. Mallard wife of Brently Mallard instantly feels free when her husband dies. The reason she feels this way