“The Story of an Hour” stands out to be Kate Chopin’s most famous stories. Different critics and scholars have written various subjects and themes addressed in Chopin’s work. The story portrays the inherent conflict between social norms and the need for personhood. The story bears a short yet interesting storyline.
The protagonist, Louise, is informed of her husband’s death but later discovers he is alive after all. The story describes of how she endures a series of emotions after hearing her husband’s death, who is believed to have succumbed to a railroad tragedy. Her sister, Josephine, strives to be gentle as she informs her of the horrific incidence. Josephine is worried on how she would respond to the news since she had heart problems. On the other hand, Louise perceives the death as a blessing in disguise. She delights at the freedom granted to her. “Free! Body and Soul Free!” she muses (Chopin Kate). Before the story comes to an end, it is made known that Mr. Brently Mallard, her husband, was alive. Louise suddenly dies as he arrives home. The cause of her death is open for argument ranging from psychological factors to heart problems.
The main theme to the story takes to address the conflict between the traditional requirements of a wife around her husband and her quest for discreet personhood. Through the story, Chopin points out the need for changes in defining the responsibility of women in the family and society. However, the limits towards effecting such changes should be observed.
In conclusion, “The Story of an Hour” is built on ironic juxtapositions as well as an ironically detached tone. The limited length and scope of the story confines the setting of the novel to a limited place. The short story is an easy read and intriguing too. It would be thoughtful to spare an hour for the story.
Chopin, Kate. The Story of an Hour: And Other Stories. St. Louis, Missourri: Pinball Publishing,