An Analysis of Kate Chopin's 'The Story of an Hour'

1150 Words5 Pages
Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour" is a perfect example of literature that glorifies the commonplace event: the story depicts a gigantic event in the life of its protagonist by using a minimalist economy of means. The opening sentence of "The Story of an Hour" carefully sets up the conclusion of the story. Chopin is working with such limited space here that it resembles more the crafting of a poem than a fictional narrative. We are told that Mrs Mallard "was afflicted with heart trouble" so "great care was taken to break to her as gently as possible the news of her husband's death." Of course Chopin is performing a number of different functions with this opening besides the mere set-up for her final plot twist: we will note the ambiguity in the euphemism "heart trouble" which may indicate that Louise Mallard's affliction is possibly related not merely to her circulatory system, but her emotional life. The use of the word "break" in such close proximity within the same sentence (when the next sentence immediately refers to "broken sentences") summons to the reader's ear the echo of the phrase "heartbreak." To a certain extent, "The Story of an Hour" is a tale of love and loss, although it performs complicated reversals of the reader's expectations about what such a story might entail. In fact, these hints of heartbreak at the outset suggest the deeper emotional currents of the story which Chopin, in carefully depicting the stifling milieu of the late 19th century
Open Document