Kate Chopin Analytical Essay - the Story of an Hour

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The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin is a short yet complex story, describing Mrs Mallard’s feelings. It focuses on the unfolding emotional state of Mrs Mallard after the news of her husbands death, and has overflowing symbolism and imagery. It is an impressive literary piece that touches the readers’ feelings and mind and allows the reader to have a connection to Mrs Mallard’s emotional process. Although the story is short, it is complete with each word carrying deep sense and meaning. It is written in the 19th century, a time that had highly restrictive gender roles that forbade women to live as they saw fit. Mrs Mallard experiences something not everyone during this time has the luck to have; the happiness of freedom that the reader only understands at the end of the story. The author unfolds Mrs Mallards feelings in three stages; firstly moving quickly to grief, then to a sense of newfound freedom, and finally to despair over the loss of that freedom. To create the story, Chopin uses an abundance of literary elements, including imagery, personification, and similes, and also makes use of the social expectations of her time. In the beginning of the story the reader is told that Mrs Mallard suffers from a heart condition, and news of her husband’s death is brought to her “as gently as possible” (158). Mrs Mallard’s sister, Josephine, and her husbands friend Richards break the news, believing Mrs Mallard would be upset and that the news could make her condition worsen. During the 19th century, most women when in Mrs Mallard’s situation would wait until they were in private before breaking their composure. Mrs Mallard however, “wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment” (158). The reader expects Mrs Mallard to be upset at the news of her husbands death, and worries that with her heart trouble the sad news may worsen her condition. However, her reaction to the news is just the first emotional response to the news, without deep comprehension of what has happened...
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