The Story of an Hour Plot Analysis

The Story of an Hour is a short story written by Kate Chopin. The story is about a woman, Mrs. Mallard, who learns that her husband has died in a train accident. At first, she is devastated by the news and goes to her room to grieve. However, after a while, she begins to feel liberated by the thought of being free from her husband’s control.

She starts to imagine all the things she can now do without him, and she begins to feel happy. When her sister comes to check on her, she finds Mrs. Mallard in a state of shock and dies of a heart attack. The story ends with Mrs. Mallard’s husband coming home alive, which shocks her so much that she also dies of a heart attack.

The story is an exploration of the theme of freedom. Mrs. Mallard’s initial reaction to her husband’s death is one of grief, but as she begins to imagine all the things she can now do without him, she starts to feel happy. The ending, with her husband coming home alive and her dying of a shock, suggests that sometimes freedom can be too much for people to handle.

Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” is a great example of literary fiction that uses symbolism and themes to carry the plot. In the first sentence, we’re introduced to the main character, Louise Mallard, who has heart trouble. When Louise’s sister and friend come to break the news about her husband dying in a train wreck, they take care not to upset her condition. Chopin doesn’t go into detail about what this heart condition entails, letting readers use their imagination instead.

The heart trouble is important, however, because it is a symbol of Louise’s state of mind. The news of her husband’s death comes as a shock to Louise, but she does not cry. Instead, she goes to her room and locks the door. The reader gets the sense that Louise is not upset by her husband’s death, but relieved. This is confirmed when she looks out the window and sees the world for the first time in years with new eyes.

She is free from the oppression of her marriage and can now live her life how she wants. The final paragraph reveals that Louise dies of happiness, which further confirms that she was actually thrilled by her husband’s death.

The heart trouble mentioned in the first line is symbolic of both the physical condition of her heart and the emotional pain she feels being trapped in a marriage. It was not uncommon in Chopin’s time for married women to feel oppressed by their husband’s power and social status.

The news of her husband’s death does not bring the expected relief, but rather leaves her feeling guilty and confused. The open window represents freedom to Mrs. Mallard and she is suddenly overcome with a sense of joy at the prospect of being free. The irony here is that while she is looking forward to her new life, she is unaware that it will be very short-lived. Just as she starts to imagine all the wonderful things she will do now that she is no longer married, her husband walks in the door, very much alive. The shock proves too much for her heart and she dies.

While on the surface this may seem like a tragedy, Chopin paints a different picture. In many ways, Mrs. Mallard’s death could be seen as a release from the unhappiness of her marriage. In The Story of an Hour, Kate Chopin uses symbolism and irony to tell the story of a woman who is trapped in a loveless marriage and finds joy in her freedom, only to have it taken away from her.

Mallard begins crying as soon as she hears the news of her husband’s death, then retreats to her room. While she is sitting there staring out an open window, her thoughts take over and she begins to feel something that she is trying to repress – an extreme need and urge for freedom and independence. The symbolism here is that of the open window. Chopin uses the word “open” to describe several things in this scene – including Mallard’s feelings about her new life without her husband.

The first is the open window, which could be a symbol for Mrs. Mallard’s new life, one in which she is free from her husband. The second is Mrs. Mallard’s heart, which is now “open” to these new feelings and emotions. The final thing that Chopin describes as “open” is the door, which could be a symbol for Mrs. Mallard’s future, one in which she is free to do as she pleases.

The story reaches its climax when Louise discards all the views holding her back and starts to experience this “freedom.” She then loudly says, “Free! Body and soul free!” (Booth and Mays, 354) After realizing how overjoyed she is with her new state of mind, she becomes aware that her sister has been knocking on the door non-stop, pleading with Louise to let her in because she’s worried about Louise’s health.

“Go away, I am not making myself ill,” she replies. No, through that open window she was drinking in the elixir of life. Booth and Mays (354) describe the scene as such: She opens the door and descends down the stairs with her sister until they reach bottom where someone is opening the front door presumably with a key.

The person is her husband, and as he steps into the house, she faints dead away. The final irony is that she dies of “joy that kills”(Booth and Mays, 354) just as her husband did. The story concludes with Mrs. Mallard’s friends gathering around her in shock as they had never seen a woman so overcome with grief before. The doctors later attribute her death to the joy of seeing her husband alive again after being mistakenly pronounced dead.

Kate Chopin’s short story The Story of an Hour is about a woman, Louise Mallard, who undergoes the experience of feeling freed from the restraints of marriage only to have her life ended by her husband who was not really dead. The story is Chopin’s commentary on the position of women in marriage during the late 1800’s. Louise is a young woman who has been married for six years to a man whom she loves. The news of her husband’s death in a train accident comes as a great shock to her, but she encounters an even greater shock when he appears alive and well at the end of the story.

The story opens with Mrs. Mallard’s sister, Josephine, and their family friend, Richards, breaking the news to her that her husband has died in a tragic accident. They are very worried about how she will react to the news since she has heart trouble. When Louise hears the news, she cries out, “Free! Body and soul free!” (Booth and Mays, 354)

She is overjoyed at the thought of being free from the constraints of marriage. Louise goes to her room and looks out the window at the new spring day, feeling liberated by her husband’s death. The relief that she feels is so great that it seems to override her love for him.

However, when her husband appears alive and well at the end of the story, she dies of “the joy that kills” (Booth and Mays, 354). The irony is that she dies happy, but also because her happiness was based on a lie – her husband was not really dead.

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