The Story Of An Hour Literary Analysis

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Hour of Freedom
“The Story of an Hour” is a short story written by Kate Chopin. It details a wife named Mrs. Louise Mallard, who struggles with a heart condition. After learning of her husband, Brentley Mallard’s death in a railroad accident, Mrs. Mallard deals with grief in many stages. Chopin incorporates many literary devices throughout “The Story of an Hour,” but imagery is the most evident. “A Short Guide to Imagery, Symbolism, and Figurative Language Imagery” describes imagery as “a writer or speaker’s use of words or figures of speech to create a vivid mental picture or physical sensation”(Clark). In the short story, “The Story of an Hour,” Kate Chopin uses nature imagery to portray the journey of emotions that Mrs. Mallard experiences
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Mallard reaches a sense of exuberant liberation. She is overwhelmed with feelings of a newfound freedom. Chopin illustrates this burst of hope once again through nature imagery when she writes, “But she felt it, creeping out of the sky, reaching toward her through the sounds, the scents, the color that filled the air”(Chopin 237). Though Mrs. Mallard tries, she cannot fight the growing sense of freedom that overtakes her. Chopin writes this change as a powerful realization that Mrs. Mallard cannot help but accept. Now she is no longer pitiful and heartbroken but joyful and excited for a life free of her husband’s dominant presence. The story says for the first time in her life, Mrs. Mallard prays for a long life. Gary Mayer describes Mrs. Mallard’s new situation by writing: "Louise's joy, it may be argued, is her thought of being single, not the realization that her husband is alive"(Mayer 95). When this change occurs, Chopin expresses Louise Mallard’s new found freedom by finally using her first name rather than her surname as she writes, “Louise, open the door!”(Chopin 237). This signifies the rebirth of a woman formally suppressed by the name of her husband; she is no longer defined by someone else, but she defines herself and her…show more content…
Mallard’s emotional journey. From her initial reluctance to her ultimate freedom, Mrs. Mallard reflects nature’s everchanging beauty. Chopin conducts a symphony of imagery that pieces together the life and death of Louise Mallard. It is evident that Chopin uses Louise Mallard’s story to convey her perception of women and men’s roles during the late 1800’s by showcasing her acceptance of the freedom that could only be gained by a single woman. The descriptions used in Chopin’s work are a marvelous representation of her character’s struggle with inner conflicts. Louise’s victory in accepting her husband’s death is a feeling that she now cannot live without. The ultimate death of Louise Mallard is one that represents physical and emotional defeat. In this dramatic short story, Chopin uses imagery to sew together a tapestry of emotions all encompassed in an ill-stricken widow. Works Cited
Chopin, Kate. “The Story of an Hour.” Writing: A Guide for College and Beyond. 4th ed., Pearson, 2016.
Clark, Andrea. "A Short Guide to Imagery, Symbolism, and Figurative Language." AusitnCC, www.austincc.edu/andreac/imagery. Accessed 18 Feb. 2018.
Mayer, Gary H. "A Matter of Behavior: A Semantic Analysis of Five Kate Chopin Stories." ETC: A Review of General Semantics, vol. 67, no. 1, Jan. 2010, pp. 94-100. EBSCOhost, lrcproxy.iccms.edu:2048/login?url=http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&db=lfh&AN=53300776&site=eds-live.
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