Kate Chopin

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Kate Chopin is well known as a controversial author in her time for her portrayal of intellectual women in both short stories and novels. In The Story of an Hour, a young woman with a heart condition is informed that her husband is dead. Now a grieving widower, she retires to her room to reflect on the dramatic change to her life. After dwelling on the incident, the main character, Louise, realizes she is overjoyed with the fact that she is no longer under the domination of her controlling spouse. The Story of an Hour is a work of intrigue that entices the reader to analyze every nook and cranny utilizing literary critique approaches to find its rhetoric and overall meaning. The author, Kate Chopin, explores the theme of the plight of women in The Story of an Hour using devises such as irony and symbolism. These two devices made the tale the most interesting because while irony provided dark humor, the symbolism supplied depth to the work. The story takes a dramatic turn that ends in an ironic twist of fate and results in the protagonist’s demise. While Louise becomes excited at the prospect of living her life as a newly independent woman in control of her own destiny, her husband, who had been presumed dead, walks through the door. While the doctor explains that Louise dies at the joy of seeing her spouse alive and well, the reader is shocked by the ironic turn of events. Additionally, the author layers her story with symbolic references to nature. For example, the protagonist notices that it is springtime, which suggests the exciting new life she is about to embark upon while “the patches of blue sky” (Chopin, 1894) implies that a bright future is on the horizon.

Beyond the literary terms that describe Chopin’s writing style, the text describes various ways to critique specific works such as The Story of an Hour. One such approach is called the “reader-response approach” which requires the critic to "connect with literature, to find a personal link or...
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