“the Story of an Hour” Analysis

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In “The Story of an Hour,” Kate Chopin relays the events as they unfold of a woman’s reaction to the sudden death of her husband. While, she grieves, she is also overcome with the elation her newfound freedom brings. Chopin utilizes characterization, point of view, and symbolism in her description of setting to move her story. Chopin’s focus is on female characters throughout most of her works, and “The Story of an Hour” is no exception. While there are four characters in the short story we really only get to know one; Josephine Mallard. We get the inkling at the beginning of the story that Josephine is not a typical wife of her time in the beginning with her internal reaction upon hearing of her husband’s sudden death. Though to those around her she looks the part of a grieving widow, we see as she sits privately in her room, her growing feeling of being unshackled from married life now that her husband is gone, and though she is sad about his death, as he is described as a good and loving man, it means a life of her own. Without the development of this crucial nature, we would not understand the ironic ending. After her epiphany, Josephine emerges from her room a new woman with confidence and power. As she descends the staircase, Mr. Mallard enters. Upon seeing his healthy and very alive figure, Josephine screams and dies “of heart disease—of joy that kills,” it is described (543). The audience can know very well through Chopin’s character development that it was anything but joy that Josephine felt that moment. Her husband would cause such a regression in the inner Josephine whom we witnessed emerge. There is no way she could step back from that. Dying was the only way to keep her freedom. Without knowing her inner thoughts, we could not know this. This short story is written in third-person narrator allowing us to see into the mind of Josephine as she is told of her husband’s fatal accident. “She did not hear the story as many women have heard the same,”...
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