Analysis of "Story of an Hour" - Kate Chopin

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  • Story of an hour
    • Structure
      • Short, dense structure
        • Story is made up of a series of short paragraphs and covers only an hour of Ms. Mallard's life
          • Mirrors the intense hour Louise spends contemplating her new independence
      • Echoing
        • "heart disease"
          • The first paragraph is echoed in the last paragraph
            • Intensifies the twist ending and brings the story to a satisfying close
            • "heart trouble"
        • "heart trouble"
      • Identical phrasing
        • "She breathed ... that life might be long"
          • Reveals how drastically Louise's life has changed with the supposed death of her husband.
      • Time
        • During the story nobody leaves the home. Men come in but no one leaves.
          • Initially the outside world seems more dangerous.
          • I isnt dangerous for people we care about but there is no escaping death when it comes for us - even in our own houses.
      • Omniscient third-person narrative
        • Enables Chopin to tell a complete story without limiting to the protagonist's view points.
        • Keeps Mrs. Mallard more sympathetic and understandable.
          • "There was ... the color that filled the air."
            • Makes it seem like Mrs. Mallard is helpless under the greater weight of human truths.
    • Important Quotations
      • "But now there was a ... intelligent thought"
        • Our first hint that Louise's reaction to Brently's death will be surprising.
        • What she sees as she gazes out of the window is different form what other women would see after their husband's have passed away.
        • her "intelligent thought" will engage again as she processes the feelings of freedom.
    • Characters
      • Mrs. Mallard
        • "as gently as possible"
          • Mrs. Mallard has to be guarded against a potential shock which could lead to her death.
        • No one understands her
          • Untitled
        • Someone who brushes off the notions of love and even the best of marriages for the glorious idea of pure freedom.
    • Context
    • Literary Devices
      • Repetition
        • "open"
        • "free"
          • One of the few words Louise speaks aloud.
          • Indicates how she cherishes her new found freedom.
      • Symbols
        • Heart
          • Hearts are frequently used a symbol of love in western culture.
          • "heart trouble"
            • Its a polite way of describing her condition, but it also reinforces the "trouble" Mrs Mallard is havign with her "heart" within her marriage.
            • Makes it easier for her to dismiss the concept of love "What did it matter"!
              • Even if Mrs.Mallard wasn't physical sick she would still have emotional "heart trouble"

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