Literary Analysis- the Story of an Hour

Topics: Emotion / Pages: 8 (1826 words) / Published: Aug 8th, 2011
Ride of Her Life In “The Story of an Hour” (1894), Kate Chopin presents a woman in the last hour of her life and the emotional and psychological changes that occur upon hearing of her husbands’ death. Chopin sends the protagonist, Mrs. Mallard, on a roller coaster of emotional up’s and down’s, and self-actualizing psychological hairpin turns, which is all set in motion by the news of her husband’s death. This extreme “joy ride” comes to an abrupt and ultimately final halt for Mrs. Mallard when she sees her husband walk through the door unscathed. Chopin ends her short story ambiguously with the death of Mrs. Mallard, imploring her reader to determine the true cause of her death. The story beginnings with Chopin informing the reader about Mrs. Mallards “heart trouble” (1). This can be considered from two vantage points, the first being that Mrs. Mallard may in fact be afflicted with a heart condition diagnosed medically, and the second is that Mrs. Mallard had trouble of the heart, which was produced by her feelings toward her current life situation with her husband. Mrs. Mallard is a slave to her marriage and sets aside her own identity in order to be the wife her husband expects her to be. This kind of sacrifice of self would lead anyone to have some weakness of the heart and soul. Richards, a friend of Mr. Mallard’s, is the first to hear about Brently Mallard’s death in a railroad accident. We learn that “great care was taken” in telling Mrs. Mallard as gently as possible about the death of her husband. Mrs. Mallard’s own sister, Josephine, delivers the news “in broken sentences” and “veiled hints” (1). This was done with her “heart trouble” in mind, in order to not cause her further heart complications. Upon hearing the news, Chopin makes it clear that Mrs. Mallard does not take the news as some other women would; “with paralyzed inability to accept its significance” rather she breaks down in tears with “wild abandonment” in a “storm of grief”


Cited: Chopin, Kate. “The Story of an Hour” (1894) www.vcu.edu.engweb/webtexts/hour/[->2]. n.d. printed p.n. (1- 2) Web. Retrieved 16th July 2011 Jamil, S. Selina. "Emotions in the Story of an Hour." Explicator 67.3 (2009): 215-220. Academic Search Complete. EBSCO. Web. 18 July 2011 [->0] - javascript:void(0); [->1] - javascript:void(0); [->2] - http://www.vcu.edu.engweb/webtexts/hour/

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