The Story of an Hour
Date of submission
The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin
In 1894, Kate Chopin published the short story entitled, “The Story of an Hour”. The title is symbolic concerning the protagonist, Louise Mallard. She learns that her husband is dead but, later realizes that it was a fraud. The title, therefore, describes the duration within which the protagonist learns about the death of her husband and that of his “resurrection” from the dead. This paper will analyze the short story, “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin. It will focus on elements of fiction and criticism regarding the story.
The setting of this story is in the protagonist’s home. Apropos of the plot, the beginning and exposition are noted when Josephine, the protagonist’s sister, gives her the news about her husband’s death. Due to her fragility, Josephine gently informs Mallard that Brently has been involved in a railroad accident. The rising action of the story is observed when she weeps, and heads to her room to stay alone. As the story goes on, Chopin exhibits the climax of the story; showing the readers that Mallard is relieved because of her husband’s death. In fact, Mallard repeatedly utters that she has freedom. Almost immediately, her sister knocks on the door and begs her to open it. She opens the door and follows Josephine down the steps thus the denouement of the story. As the story comes to an end, readers learn that there is someone at the door. To their surprise, it is Brently Mallard. The falling action of the story is observed when Louise Mallard dies of a cardiac arrest due to profound joy.
As observed, there are only four characters in this story. They function in creating the action in the story. Each one of them has a role to play in developing the plot of the story. The protagonist (Louise Mallard), Josephine, Richard and Brently, each character has a role in developing Kate Chopin’s story. Also, there is a prevalent theme in this story. The theme revolves around the lack of independence in marriages. When the protagonist learns of her husband’s death, she is elated immensely. In fact, she acknowledges her freedom while she in alone in her room. Due to Mallard reaction to the news, she is happy because her husband’s death would mean independence rather than oppression. Louise Mallard is also a symbol of the oppressed women in marriages.
Kate Chopin’s writing style is simple, concise and precise. Her writing also incorporates instances of climax thus attracting her readers. In “The Story of an Hour”, she employs a sad tone in the third person point of view. Furthermore, her writing style incorporates the feminist criticism. Kate Chopin’s story integrates issues about the female gender. In this story, there is clear oppression of women. The protagonist is deprived of her independence thus oppression. As a matter of fact, Chopin is among other female critics such as Zora Neale Hurston and Nadine Gordimer, among others.
This paper has clearly explored Chopin’s story, “The Story of an Hour”. It has examined the elements of fiction such as plot, theme, tone, setting, writing style, symbolism and point of view. These elements are important in critical writing. Lastly, the paper has given an overview of the feminist criticism present in Chopin’s story.
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