Story Of An Hour Symbolism Analysis

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The Symbols of an Hour Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” is a deeply immersive and intriguing story about a woman who rejoices at the freedom that her husband’s apparent death leaves her. The story is highly effective in surprising the reader, as well as succinctly impressing upon the reader its themes and symbols. Chopin’s message to the reader is exceptionally clear: Louise Mallard, along with countless other married women in the 19th century, is restrained in her marriage. Chopin conveys this message through powerful figurative and language and, most importantly, symbolism. Important symbols in “The Story of an Hour” include Mrs. Mallard’s heart, the window, and the house. Mrs. Mallard’s weak heart represents the repressive nature of her marriage. Mrs. Mallard’s whisperings of “free, free, free” indicate that despite the love she had for Brently, she felt imprisoned by her marriage. Mrs. Mallard’s heart is an interesting mirror of the archetypal symbol of the heart as the center of love and emotion: just as her heart is weak, so is her marriage. Readers should note that Mrs. Mallard’s heart appears to strengthen in only one scene in the story. Chopin employs vivid imagery of Mrs. Mallard’s heart while she realizes that she is better off without her husband. Chopin writes, “Her pulses beat fast, and the coursing blood warmed and relaxed every inch of her body.” If the interpretation of Mrs. Mallard’s heart as a symbol for a failing marriage is held, one might wonder why she suddenly feels content in her marriage. This is obviously not the case, so the symbol must have changed. For just an instant while Mrs. Mallard believes she is free, her heart represents her independence. She looks forward to a life turned inward, lived for herself. This dream is, of course, shattered when Brently calmly walks through the front door, shattering both her independence and her heart, causing Mrs. Mallard to die. The heart is the most important symbol present in “The Story of an Hour,” evidenced by the fact that it’s the first piece of information revealed about any character in the story. Mrs. Mallard’s heart represents worrying issues in society; there are, despite this, hopeful symbols in “The Story of an Hour.” The
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