Structural Technique in The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin

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Structure provides guidance to the reader throughout a short story. Kate Chopin uses structural techniques to enhance “The Story of an Hour” from beginning to end. She follows formal structure to a certain degree, but occasionally strays to actual structure. Upon analysis of the organization of Chopin’s story, the reader understands the powerful meaning that is expressed in such a short piece.
Initially, a short story begins with an exposition. This is the laying out of important background information, characters, and setting. Chopin’s story is only a few short paragraphs in length, so her exposition is almost overlooked. However, she does provide one detail that is essential to appreciating Mrs. Mallard. Louise is described as needing “great care”(Chopin, 293) because of her distressing “heart trouble” (Chopin, 293). This information is crucial to “The Story of an Hour” and essentially can be considered the exposition. Mrs. Mallard’s condition reoccurs in the resolution of the story, adding to its importance. Additionally, the only other piece of information that can be revealed in Chopin’s exposition is the significance that every sentence must contain vitality. The “dense structure” (SparkNotes) parallels the intensity presented in the short hour of Louise’s life. Although short, this story’s exposition does reveal information that the reader needs to understand.
Subsequently following the exposition is the complication. The reader is exposed to the development of major conflict through the complication. In “The Story of an Hour”, the complication is introduced abruptly when Chopin recalls how gently Mrs. Mallard was informed of her husband’s death. This news could cause her intense pain or death, which leads the reader to...

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...n Hour” is a structural work that can be analyzed and critiqued. Chopin magnificently organizes this piece and takes the reader on a journey, despite the stunted length. Formal structure is followed for most of the story, although some aspects are considered unique and actual structure. Kate Chopin guides the reader through one hour of Mrs. Mallards life-, which changes Louise, Mr. Mallard, and the reader, forever.

Works Cited

Chopin, Kate. “The Story of an Hour.” Literature: An Introduction to Reading and Writing. Ed. Edgar V. Roberts and Robert Zweig. 5th Compact ed. New York: Pearson Longman, 2012. 293-95. Print.
Shmoop Editorial Team. “The Story of An Hour Plot Analysis” Shmoop.com. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 16 Feb. 2014.
SparkNotes Editors. “SparkNote on The Story of an Hour.” SparkNotes.com. SparkNotes LLC. 2007. Web. 7 Feb. 2014.
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