Analytical Approaches

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Literary Analysis of The Story of an Hour

Roman Lewis

English 125

Prof. Paula Porter

March 7th, 2011

Literary Analysis of The Story of an Hour

The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin captured my attention because it explained the ironic ways Mrs. Mallard coped with the news of her husband’s death. I found it further appealing Kate Chopin, the author, was a widow. This lead me believe that there could have been some kind of connection between the author and the main character. The formalist approach is one of the best analytical approaches to use when analyizing this piece of literature.

As I read The Story of an Hour, I used the formalist approach to evaluate the story. I was able to obtain a better understanding as well as viewing different aspects of the story by asking myself certain questions as I read. Here are a few questions a reader may ask themselves when analyzing literature using the formalist approach:

• Why was the plot intriguing? Did surprise occur?

• What point of view was used?

• How were the characters described, contrasted, or developed?

• Was figurative language used to create mood, to reveal theme?

• What makes the setting so memorable?

• In what way do literary conventions and forms contribute to its appeal? (Clugston, 16.2, 2010)

When Kate Chopin writes about the scene describing the chair in front of the open window, she explains with critical detail. Through the open window, Louise can see "the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life." "The delicious breath of rain was in the air." "countless sparrows were twittering in the eaves" (Clugston, The Story of an Hour, Kate Chopin, 2010). The author sets a more positive atmosphere when describing what Louise sees from the window after hearing news of her husband’s untimely death.

Figurative language is in use in the story to change the...