Summary of the Story of an Hour

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The Story of an Hour: Summary
“The Story of an Hour”, written by Kate Chopin in 1894, reflects upon the life of Mrs. Louise Mallard, stricken with “a heart trouble”. Upon hearing of a railroad disaster that claimed the life of her husband, her sister Josephine and her husband's friend Richards confronted Mrs. Mallard in an attempt to notify her of the tragedy. Cautious of Mrs. Mallard’s illness, Josephine successfully took great precaution and unveiled the sad news. Troubled by the news, Mrs. Mallard mourned with "sudden, wild abandonment" and secluded herself in her bedroom. Grieving and filled with pain, she found solace while seated in “a comfortable, roomy armchair” and starred in an open window at the “new spring life.” There, a ray of hope embraced her and tried to suppress the thoughts and feelings of joy resulting from her husband’s death. Even though she knew her husband loved her, she became joyous at the thought of freedom to live for herself and not bend her will to follow him again. Out of his death, she gained and recognized her freedom, “Free! Body and soul free!” Outside of the door, her sister Josephine kneeled, worried and begged in request to open the door. Josephine finally got her breakthrough when Mrs. Mallard rejoined her. She carried herself "like a goddess of Victory" as she joined her sister to return downstairs where Richards still waited. On their way down the stairs, they heard the front door open and behold, Mr. Mallard walked in. “He had been far from the scene of the accident.” Chopin ends the story with the sudden death of Mrs. Mallard, who according to the doctor’s report, “had died of heart disease – of the joy that kills.” Work Cited. 

Chopin, Kate. “The Story of an Hour.” The Bedford Guide for College Writers. Ed. X.J. Kennedy. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2011. 280-282. Print.
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