Kate Chopin: the Story through Setting Essay

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The time period, season, location, and surroundings of a character reveal a great deal about them. Kate Chopin's "The Story of An Hour" is an excellent example of how setting affects the reader's perception of the story. There is an enormous amount of symbolism expressed through the element of setting in this short story. So well, in fact, that words are hardly necessary to descriptively tell the story of Mrs. Mallard's hour of freedom. Analyzing the setting for "The Story of An Hour" will give a more complete understanding of the story itself. There are many individual parts that, when explained and pieced together, will both justify Mrs. Mallard's attitude and actions toward her husband's death and provide a visual expression of her …show more content…
This is also alluded to in the fact that Mr. Mallard's first name is given at the very beginning of the story while Mrs. Mallard is identified by her married title until almost the end and in the statement depicting her fighting her feelings: "as powerless as her two white, slender hands would be." The physical appearance of many women in her time gave the impression of weakness and reliance on men. It is easy to see how Mrs. Mallard felt a joy at the thought of having "no powerful will bending hers."

Once Mrs. Mallard calms down after being given the news of her husband's death, where she goes (or, perhaps, doesn't go) is evidence to the fact that there was very little love between her and her husband. "She went away to her room alone." In a time of grief such as this, it is expected that she would want to go to their bedroom because it is the room they would have privately shared. However, the story refers to the room as "her room" and when she enters it, the piece of furniture that she sought comfort in was an armchair. It would be assumed that their bed would be her place of comfort, yet there is no mention of the presence of a bed in the room. It is when she closes herself in her room that her feelings begin to take hold and are revealed. The description of the room and the scenery unravel simultaneously with her inward thoughts. As she enters the room, the immediate