The Story of an Hour
By: Kate Chopin
This short story is about an hour in the life of the main character, Mrs. Millard. She is afflicted with a heart problem. Bad news has come about that her husband has died in a train accident. Her sister Josephine and Richard who is her husband’s friend has to break the horrifying news to her as gently as possible. They both were concerned that the news might somehow put her in great danger with her health. Ironically, Mrs. Millard reacts to the news with excitement. Even though the news is heartbreaking she is finally free from the depressing life she was living. She keeps whispering “Free! Body and soul free!”. She now is happy because she doesn’t have to live for anyone but herself now. At the end of the story, Mr. Millard opens the door and is surprised by Josephine’s cry. Mr. Millard didn’t have a faintest idea about the accident. With a quick motion, Richard tried to block Mr. Millard’s view of his wife but it was too late. The doctors said she died of a heart disease. The story ends with a short phrase “of joy that kills”.
Analysis/ Interesting Quotes:
Mrs. Millard had a fragile heart, her sister was hesitant in breaking her the news of her husband’s death. Unlike most women who find themselves in denial after being told something of this magnitude she wept at once. Once she composed herself she locked herself in her room and would let no one in. She was noticing things outside her window she had never noticed before. Things that we take for granted and only appreciate when we are happy. But how could this be if her husband had just passed? She began to weep again and then she was young she was new she was somehow reborn. For with her husband she had been restrained and now she had all this new found freedom she did not enjoy before. She was ready for the world to the amazement of her sister and that of her husband’s friend, Mr. Richards’ as well. When she saw her husband she passed and the doctor said she died of a joy that kills but they did not understand that she actually died of sadness. Because now she was to be repressed in her husband’s presence once more and this she could not bare.
... the entire family. Sister feels that since her sister has returned home after separating from her husband that her sister has turned the entire ... . The family all lived together in the story, Mama, Papa-Daddy, Uncle-Rondo, Sister, and Stella-Rondo plus her new daughter ... and corruption, tenderness and hate, wonder and boredom. The stories are concerned largely with single moments of personal crisis and ...
The author uses many literary elements in the short story. Some are personification, imagery, and similes. Personification is stated in this quote; “She was young, with a fair, calm face, whose lines bespoke repression,”. This element shows how strongly she is in repression. It made me actually feel how depressing her life with her husband was. “She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life. The delicious breath of rain was in the air. In the street below a peddler was crying his wares. The notes of a distant song which some one was singing reached her faintly, and countless sparrows were twittering in the eaves.” Imagery is portrayed in these quotes. By using imagery, Chopin made it easier for me to see and feel the environment the character is in. This helps me understand the story on a next level. “She carried herself unwittingly like a goddess of Victory”. Chopin uses this simile to describe how calm and happy Mrs. Mallard is now. She really feels free of all negative vibes now.
What point is Kate Chopin attempting to make based on the incidents of the story?
After reading the story, I found the theme of the story to be that things that we want in life might come too late so live life for yourself to the fullest while you can . Some of the major literary elements within the story are imagery, similes, personification, and irony. I believe that these literary terms enhance this meaning because they allow me to feel the emotion of Mrs. Mallard and the irony enhances the bitter sweetness of the ending.
... fifth paragraph, Kate Chopin uses symbolism to show the changes in Mrs Mallard's life. Outside, Mrs Mallard is ... she notices new life and happiness. The "open window" could symbolism freedom, which the reader knows Mrs Mallard feels later in the story. During the ...
Questions to text:
1.)Was Chopin trying to make Mrs. Millard appear as a sympathetic character or a cruel one?
Well, I personally did not see Mrs. Millard as a cruel person, for I too would be happy if I were to get rid of something that restrained me from living my life, hence I food her to be rather sympathetic than cruel.
2.)What does the story’s title mean?
Well, it appears to me that the action of the story may have lasted for about an hours time.
3.) Is Mrs. Mallards “heart problems” symbolic or ironic?
I found her heart problems to be symbolic of the sadness and stress she went through during the marriage with her husband…Mr. Mallard. However, it was quite ironic that she sad this in the beginning of the story, did she mean to imply something by doing this?
4.)Why is the setting of the story so limited?
I find this limited setting to symbolize the stories theme as a whole because, as portrayed in the story, Mrs. Mallard felt very restrained by her husband for she was very unhappy.