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The Story Of An Hour By Kate Chopin

1090 words - 5 pages

During the 19th century, it was traditional and common sense that women were subordinate to men in terms of status and opportunities. Women had no rights and men dominated their lives and everything in it. However, Kate Chopin, a woman herself, writes a story about an ill woman who yearns to be free from her husband’s grasp. Chopin’s short story, “The Story of an Hour”, written in 1894, can best be understood by considering the cultural and historical background, the author’s life, the irony, symbolism, and other literary devices within the story, and the final insight the story leaves the readers to reflect on.
An insight into “The Story of an Hour” can be perceived by examining the ...view middle of the document...

Authors also use their personalities, their surroundings, and viewpoints to shape their story. Born Catherine O’Flaherty on July 12, 1850, in St. Louis, Missouri, Chopin was the daughter of an immigrant Irishman, Thomas O’ Flaherty and French-American mother, Eliza Faris. She was the youngest of three children and was particularly a happy one until her father’s sudden death. Thus, at the age of five, she was forced to reshape her concept of herself and her world. Eventually, the lack of male role models and men as central figures in her life as she matured greatly influenced Chopin as a writer (Ker). This lack would prevent her from experiencing the tradition of submission of women to men in all social spheres especially that of marriage as this was basically a fundamental social concept of her time (Ker). Through Chopin’s perspective and life events, readers will be able to relate “The Story of an Hour” to the situation women were in during the late 1800s. Analyzing the story would also deepen the understanding of the readers. Chopin uses various types of irony to create an element of suspense in the story such as situational irony. For instance, Chopin describes Mrs. Mallard of being very depressed and emotional of her husband’s death, but in reality, she is truly happy about his death (Chopin 10-42). His death would release Mrs. Mallard from her “prison” and into the land of freedom. Another example of irony would be when Mrs. Mallard’s sister Josephine is worried that Mrs. Mallard has locked herself in her room and made herself ill, but she is actually contemplating how wonderful her life is going to be; this would be considered as both dramatic and situational irony (Chopin 60-61).
Chopin also uses symbolism to help readers understand the meaning behind the story. For example, Mrs. Mallard’s heart trouble represents Mrs. Mallard’s mixed feelings toward her marriage and unhappiness from her lack of freedom (“The Story of an Hour: Themes, Motifs, and Symbols”). When she considers her new independence, she is overwhelmed with joy. At the end of the story, Mrs. Mallard dies and the diagnosis of “heart disease” seems appropriate as the...

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