The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin


TheStory of an Hour&quot by Kate Chopin

Inthis poem the poet employs specific structural and stylistictechniques aimed at heightening the drama in the poem. The structureof the poem chosen by the author fits the subject matter communicatedeffectively. The story encompasses of short paragraphs made up ofabout two to three sentences. In only one hour the whole story aboutLouise Mallard is conveyed- this is from the moment she knows abouther husband’s death to the time he unexpectedly returns. The storymirrors the short moment Louise mirrors herself as an independentwoman. It is shocking to see Mallard sigh relief and murmur free whenshe learns of her husband’s death. It is also shocking that uponthe return of her husband she dies. The heart disease depicted at theend of the poem echoes the troubled heart at the beginning bringingabout an intensifying and twist ending to the story (Doloff, 34).

Theauthor uses excessive flashbacks and speculations making everysentence in the poem an important aspect by taking a poetic writingstyle. Chopin uses repetition to depict the important points. Forinstance, she repeats the word openinthe poem to emphasize Louise new freedom in her new life. The authoralso repeats the word freethisis the word that Louise keeps repeating after she learns of the deathof her husband. It indicates that Louise cherishes her new life offreedom where she will no longer succumb to her husband’s demandsand jurisdictions. Besides the words repeated in the poem, the authoralso repeats some phrases and sentence structures to emphasizeimportant points. For instance, the author writes “Shebreathed a quick prayer that life might be long. It was onlyyesterday that she had thought with a shudder that life might belong”(Q BERENJI, 23). The identical phrasing of the sentences shows howLouise’s life has taken a different dimension. Previously, Louiseshuddered at how long life was and at some point wanted her life tobe cut short. However, her new feeling seems to pray for more time tolive.

Chopinuses alliteration and internal rhyme to make the prose of the poem.For instance, Josephine revealedin half concealing whenshe tells Louise the news of her husband’s death and Brentelyreappears “composedlycarrying” his belonging (Wan,12). Symbolism connotes the representation of one thing with anotherthing in the poem it is evident in the illustration of Louise’sweak heart. Louise is depicted as individual who is too weak suchthat she cannot be able to handle sensitive and demanding situations.This is an illustration of lack of lover and emptiness whicheventually is further shown when she sees her husband and dies.Allegory comes about in the poem in the manner motifs seem topermeate the story death, resurfacing, re-starting, going back tolife….are the topics that are ever present. Louise happiness isdependent on Brantley’s death. In either way death is alwayspresent, this can happen either through his accident of her condition(Wehner, 09).

Imageryis employed widely in the poem, this is especially when the readercomprehends the extent to which Louise wants to change her life andimagine herself as a free woman.

..hewas drinking in a very elixir of life through that open window. Herfancy was running riot along those days ahead of her. ………. Shebreathed …that life might be long. It was only yesterday she hadthought with a shudder that life might be long….There was afeverish triumph in her eyes, and she carried herself unwittinglylike a goddess of Victory (Wehner,13).

Strongimagery that appeals to the readers senses is applied to explain tothe readers the strength of the character’s emotions. The fact thata reader can conceptualize and visualize what Louise can seeconstitute the use of good imagery. The situational irony shows theopposite of what is actually expected to happen. Immediately Brentelyenters the house, safe and sound the wife dies. This is totallyironical because, it is expected that the wife should jump in joy tocelebrate the return of her husband, but it takes a differentapproach. The dramatic irony in the poem is how the death of Louiseis diagnosed as “joythat kills.” The reader knows clearly that it is not the joy that killed Louisebut it is the shock that came to her after the disappointing factthat Brentely was still alive and this meant that her life was goingto continue as usual under the oppression of her husband’s tyranny(Doloff, 19).

Shebreathed a quick prayer that life might be long. It was onlyyesterday she had thought with a shudder that life might be long(Wan,17).

Thisquotation appears at the end of the story just before Louise leavesher room to go back down stairs and illuminates the extent of herelation. Before the death of her husband Louise viewed her life withtrepidation, dull years, unchanging dependence and oppression. Theshuddershefelt is that of dread. However, she is free and independent and herlife is suddenly worth living. Before she had prayed for a short lifespan, however, now she is free and happy and longs to have a longerlife span. The passage uses an ironical stance and allegory on howfully Louise feels her independence it also highlights theunexpectedness of Louise’s reaction. Louise tends to dread herformer life and it is because of the shock she gets when her husbandreturns that sends her to her death (Doloff, 23). The poem is rich inliterary styles as described above and the author took a deepperspective to realign the message and the artistic styles that arerelevant to the poem.


Doloff,S. `Kate Chopin`s Lexical Diagnostic In `the Story of an Hour`(1894)`.&nbspNotesand Queries&nbsp61.4(2014): 580-581. Web.

QBERENJI, FAHIMEH. `Time and Gender in Charlotte Perkins Gilman’S“The Yellow Wall-Paper” And Kate Chopin’S “The Story of AnHour”`.&nbspTAKSAD&nbsp2.2(2013): n. page. Web.

Wan,Xuemei. `Kate Chopin’S View on Death and Freedom in the Story of anHour`.&nbspEnglishLanguage Teaching&nbsp2.4(2009): n. page. Web.

Wehner,David Z. `Awakenings: The Story Of The Kate Chopin Revival. Ed.Bernard Koloski`.Women`sStudies&nbsp43.2(2014): 271-274. Web.