In “The Story of an Hour,” Kate Chopin uses characterization, symbols, and conflicts that suggest that in certain situations, the death of a loved one may be a blessing in disguise. Such situations may include an abusive relationship, or an unhappy marriage, as this story suggests. In Chopin’s story although the circumstances might lead the reader to believe that Mrs. Mallard’s husband’s death would cause her great pain, ironically, when she hears the news, she feels a great sense of relief. This suggests that death may not always cause grief.
A huge factor of the story is the characteristics of Mrs. Mallard which add to the theme of the story in several ways. One important characteristic is her youth. This is symbolic because it represents a fresh, new start at her life of freedom due to the death of her husband. Women were married at a young age and in a way lost their independence. Mrs. Mallard is described as being young and having “a fair, calm face” symbolizing the beauty and innocence. It would seem that Mr. Mallard repressed her, and now she is freed of an unhappy marriage and able to move on with her life.
Another common term in this story is metaphors. In the 7th paragraph, it says “except when a sob came up into her throat and shook her, as a child who has cried itself to sleep continues to sob in its dreams.” (Chopin, 1). This showed that Mrs. Mallard was suffering and felt grief towards her husband’s death. This is metaphorical because Mrs. Mallard was acting the way a child would act, if he or she was to be disciplined. When she heard the news Mrs. Mallard wanted to be away from everyone, so she went in sat in her room alone. A child would do the same thing if they were to be disciplined.
There are several symbols in the story that reach out to the reader. Chopin writes “There stood, facing the open window, a comfortable, roomy armchair. Into this she sank, pressed down by a physical exhaustion that haunted