The Story of an Hour Q&A

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The story of an hour-Kate Chopin

1. What malady does Mrs. Mallard suffer, and why would the author mention it in the first paragraph?

Mrs. Mallard suffers from a heart disease. This is important to be mentioned in the first paragraph because it sets the scene for when the news of her husband’s death comes. Her heart disease is also what kills her when her “dead” husband walks through the front door at the end of the story.

2.The setting of the story is very limited; it is confined largely to a room, a staircase, and a front door. How does this limitation help to express a theme, or main idea, in the story?

The setting in the room is very happy, joyful, bright and promising. The setting of the staircase and front door seem to be dark, dimmer places. This setting helps the author portray the independent joy Mrs. Mallard felt while also making readers know that she is still mourning the loss of her husband (even if she has already found joy in her new independence). It also represents what confines her as a housewife.

3. Read the following passages:
"She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life. The delicious breath of rain was in the air. In the street below a peddler was crying his wares. The notes of a distant song which some one was singing reached her faintly, and countless sparrows were twittering in the eaves." “There were patches of blue sky showing here and there through the clouds that had met and piled one above the other in the west facing her window.” What kinds of sensory (sight, touch, smell, sound, taste) images do these passages contain, and how might these descriptions be symbolic of something about her future life?

Seeing blue skies, smelling rain, listening to a melody and birds chirping are symbols of joy. The open window symbolizes a new, promising future. She identifies with the lively outdoor life; together they are energized with new life.

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