Story of an Hour

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Arthur Love
20 December 2012
0-Period
Davidson
"The Story of an Hour"

The Age of Realism novelist, Kate Chopin, writes a short story to reveal a negative point of view of marriage. By examining the use of narrator, character and irony in "The Story of an Hour," the reader is left with a feeling that the author is not fond of the institution.

Kate Chopin was a pioneer of the realistic literary scene. "The Story of an Hour" had a third person limited point of view. The narrator only revealed information about what was going through Louise Mallard's mind. Chopin executed this point of view considerably well and it enhanced the short story. The third person limited point of view is a great for realistic literature. We all think for ourselves. We aren't psychics and we can't know what everyone thinks at every time of the day! Kate Chopin incorporates this idea in her literature up until the end of the story. The unknown leaves a void for the readers to fill. The last paragraph (20) of "The Story of an Hour" said, "When the doctors came they said she had dies of heart disease -- of the joy that kills." Here readers are expected to create their own impressions on how Mrs. Mallard dies: dead individuals cannot speak, so we will never know for sure, but we can make inferences. The narrator of this story allows readers to gain some insight of their own from the situation. Furthermore, readers only care about Mrs. Mallard's thought process for her unorthodox actions (like in paragraph ten: "She was beginning to recognize this thing that was approaching to possess her, and she was striving to beat it back with her will…) Other characters' thoughts would only confuse readers and add a plethora of unnecessary information. The only way Chopin could better the point of view was if she dove deeper into Louise Mallard's thoughts via first person point of view. We could have gotten more acquainted with Mrs. Mallard and her predicament because she would be telling readers about it, but even then, there is bias in any text of first person point of view. The narrator of the story offers a valuable lesson for readers. Initially as Chopin's short story begins in paragraph one, the narrator says "Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with heart trouble… the news of her husband's death." This double-blow of sadness is true to the philosophy of realism-- a style of writing that attempts to depict life accurately without idealizing it. Two of the worst things are happening to Mrs. Mallard: the death of a spouse and her own impeding death attributed to heart disease. The fact that the narrator mentions this at the beginning of the story evokes the value that life isn't perfect. It throws you in a never-ending cycle of incessant problems and after that, you get sick and die. Chopin develops an article with an increasingly dark message. The narrator borders on cruelty in terms of Mrs. Mallard's odd reaction to her husband's death and the sham that was her marriage.

Kate Chopin was a regionalist, a faction of realism that emphasizes specific geographic setting. Writings of regionalism, like "The Story of an Hour" are often sentimental in depictions of characters and locations. Chopin maintained this sentimental value within her character Louise Mallard. Mrs. Mallard is a contained woman. She is referred to as Mrs. Mallard throughout the story until her husband's death came to full fruition. That is when she adopts the name Louise. This fact makes her name more of a job title. This shows that the author believes marriage is work. It embodies individuals. It consumes people to a point where it changes their names. Mrs. Mallard gains her name back at paragraph thirteen: "Louise, open the door! I beg; open the door-- you will make yourself ill. What are you doing Louise." Marriage is like a jail sentence and the salutation such as Mr. or Mrs. are like shackles-- mere reminders that you are an inmate. At least in this quotation, Louise Mallard is exercising...
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