Techniques in Kate Chopin's The Story of an Hour

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Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” is a story about the last hour of Louise Mallard’s life. After learning about Mr. Mallard’s death from a telegram, Richards and Josephine delicately break the news to Louise, doing their best to prevent Louise’s heart trouble from acting up. Initially, Louise completely breaks down at the loss of her husband, but this quickly transforms into elation as she realizes that she is now free to live for herself. As she becomes comfortable with her newfound freedom and composes herself, the front door opens. In walks Mr. Mallard, who had been far from the accident they thought he was in. At the sight of her husband, Louise drops dead, which the doctors later attribute to a heart attack of joy. This story illustrates the oppression that sometimes comes with marriage, and the overwhelming self-empowerment that comes with breaking free.

The central character of “The Story of an Hour” is Louise Mallard, whose last hour is the hour mentioned in this story’s title. Louise begins as a character “whose lines bespoke of repression” (13) and “thought with a shudder that life might be long” (14). It is implied that Louise’s life beside her husband had been one with a “powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence” (14). This is the reason for her overwhelming joy at the idea of her new life as her own person, and the reason we can state that Louise is a dynamic character. After recognizing that she is “Free! Body and soul free!” (14), Louise removes the shackles of her husband’s expectations and steps forth as an independent woman. She saw “a long procession of years to come that would belong to her absolutely. And she opened and spread her arms out to them in welcome” (14). In Louise Mallard’s last hour, we see a woman grow from a submissive wife to a liberated woman, ready to take on the days ahead of her.

Brently Mallard is the strongest supporting character. It is through Louise’s life with Brently and her reaction...
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