The Story of an Hour

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In “the story of an hour,” author Kate Chopin develops the main character Louise Mallard initially as a submissive young spouse. Then the author develops the characterization of Louise Mallard, through her diction and imagery, into an empowered, freed “widow.”

The diction used by the author is crucial to the development of the story. In the opening line the author refers to the main character as “Mrs. Mallard,” and states that she is “afflicted with a weak heart. These choices of diction imply that she doesn’t have her own identity, and her weak heart symbolizes her perceived lack of inner strength. Upon hearing of Louise’s husband’s death Louise is further characterized by the other characters sensitivity toward her. Louise’s sister, for example, gives Louise “veiled hints that reveal in half concealing,” about her husband’s death. The author then begins to use diction to separate Louise’s character from a newly widowed woman by stating “(she did not hear the story) with a paralyzed inability to accept its significance. The author continues the transformation ,coupled by a change of diction, by acknowledging her previous “repression,” and a “certain strength.” Following that in paragraph 10 he author uses her “white slender hands,” to describe her lack of physical strength and her inability to fight off an idea of being “free,” in paragraph 11. Ironically, her lack of power to stop the idea of freedom empowers her emotionally. Louise then also recognizes her new strength from her husbands death by the author describing it with diction like “possession of self assertion…the strongest impulse of her being.”The author uses other, unknowing character’s diction to confirm this change as well. For example Josephine refers to Louise Mallard as Louise instead of Mrs. Mallard, because of her recent change into a widow. Finally before her “dead,” husband returns, Louise is described with diction like, “(having) triumph in her eyes, and… like a goddess of victory.”...
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