"The Story of an Hour"
By Kate Chopin
"The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin describes the thoughts and feelings that are depicted in a
single hour of the life of Louise Mallard after hearing that her husband has been killed in a railroad
accident. As the story begins we are told that Mrs. Mallard is afflicted with a heart condition so the news
of her husband's death is broken to her gently by her sister. Mrs. Mallard's initial reaction, upon hearing
of her husband's death is one of grief. She wishes to be left alone to grieve in her room upstairs in the
house. However, during the hour she spends sitting in an armchair alone in the room, her state of mind
changes dramatically. She is faced with conflicting emotions and although she loved her husband and is
very upset by his death, she cannot suppress the thoughts that she is now free to begin a new life without
the restraints of having a husband. Mrs. Mallard experiences a joy and hope that will change her life now
that she only has herself to think about. The story ends in a dramatic climax when Brently Mallard returns
home, unhurt and not dead. The sight of seeing her husband alive causes Mrs. Mallard to die of what the
doctors' say is a "heart disease of joy that kills."
"The Story of an Hour" portrays the social status or the Mallard family as working class. We know
this because the author tells us that Brently Mallard works on the railroad. Throughout this short story
there are examples showing how Mrs. Mallard's actions and ideas are focused on her freedom. The
author also describes the realization of freedom as if it were a tangible thing, "there was something
coming to her and she was waiting for it." There are also thoughts and ideas that show Mrs. Mallard
realizing that love is by no means a substitute for independence. "The Story of an Hour" also deals with
societal conflicts through their impact on the...
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