“The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin
“The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin is very intriguing, not only because of the emotional change Louise Mallard goes through the hour after her husband’s tragic death but also the way Chopin uses irony in the story. During this analysis of “The Story of an Hour” we will discuss the summary, plot, setting, tone, theme, point of view, emotions of Louise Mallard and other characters involved in the story. Chopin’s story uses the feelings of a married woman in the late 1890’s and feminine identities, to help the reader better understand married life of a woman during that period in time. In the story, Louise Mallard is a young woman with a heart condition who recently is informed of her husband’s death. At first she is sad and then a wonderful feeling begins to come over her, it is happiness; freedom, although she does not feel that for long. “She knew that she would weep again when she saw the kind, tender hands folded in death; the face that had never looked save with love upon her, fixed and gray and dead” (Chopin 2). “And yet she had loved him – sometimes. Often she had not” (Chopin 2). Kate Chopin uses nature imagery, irony and tragedy to set the theme; women’s role in a marriage and feminine identity. “Marriage was considered a sacred institution. Divorce was quite rare in the 1800s and if one was to occur; men were automatically given legal control of all property and children” (Hicks 1).
The point of view in Chopin’s short story, the narrator uses a non-participant approach to tell the story in third person point of view with limited omniscience. Whether or not the reader is more sympathetic with the narrator using first person depends on the story. In this story, I think the reader would be sympathetic if the narrator was using first person or third person, and the story would still be credible and believable. I believe the story is very effective with the methods Chopin used to write with. “We are told of the joy she feels with the freedom she finds in her husband’s death, but we are not specifically told that she is skeptical of marriage in general” (Hicks 1).The setting for this story is based in the spring of 1984 in Louisiana, “the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life” (Chopin 2). In the story, Chopin does not describe many things with detail, she describes the only furniture as being “comfortable, roomy armchair” (Chopin 2). Chopin also describes Mrs. Mallard as being, “young, with a fair, calm face, whose lines bespoke repression and even certain strength” (Chopin 2). The only method of transportation that is mentioned in the story is railroad and the only reason that method of transportation is mentioned is because that is how they believed Mr. Mallard died in a horrible railroad disaster.
Chopin portrayed all of the characters very well throughout the story, which helped the story read better. Louise Mallard is the protagonist in this story and the antagonist...