The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin

1248 Words5 Pages
Kate Chopin provides her reader with an enormous amount of information in just a few short pages through her short story, “The Story of an Hour.” The protagonist, Louise Mallard, realizes the many faults in romantic relationships and marriages in her epiphany. “Great care [is] taken to break to her as gently as possible the news of her husband’s death” (Chopin 168). Little do Josephine and Richards know, the news will have a profoundly positive effect on Louise rather than a negative one. “When she abandoned herself,” Mrs. Mallard opened her mind to a new way of life. The word usage shows that the protagonist experienced a significant change. This life wouldn’t be compromised by her partner’s will, which will enable her to live for herself during the years to come. Her epiphany occurs exactly when she frees herself to new ideas and the prospect of individuality rather than dependency. This gives her a new sense of assertiveness and ability to live her life according to her own will. This epiphany is established by Chopin’s use of foreshadowing, Mrs. Mallard’s acquisition of new information, and the changes that this information sparks.
The first element Chopin uses to indicate an epiphany is foreshadowing. Throughout the first page, she employs foreshadowing and hopeful language to indicate a coming epiphany. Specifically, the optimistic language she uses leads us to believe that this epiphany will be a positive one. Foreshadowing is a powerful component supports Mrs. Mallard’s realization. Thoughts and actions of all of the characters help the audience predict Mrs. Mallard’s coming epiphany. Upon hearing that her husband has passed away, Mrs. Mallard “[weeps] at once, with sudden, wild abandonment” (Chopin 169). Chopin uses va...

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...ive her life for her own benefit. This is proven by Chopin's use of foreshadowing, the protagonist's realizations, and the effect that the realizations have on her life after the event. The author gives us thorough evidence to support the fact that Louise Mallard experienced an epiphany. Through a close examination of the story, the audience can see that she uses verbal indication that a change will occur. Chopin provides insight into Mrs. Mallard’s outlook on life and the affect this new outlook has. “Joy that kills” ends this dynamic short story, as well as Louise Mallard’s life. As the audience reads about Mrs. Mallard’s epiphany, it is likely they experience realizations of their own.

Works Cited
Chopin, Kate. “The Story of an Hour.” Backpack Literature. 4th ed. Ed. X. J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson: 2012. 168-170. Print.
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