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Death in The Story of an Hour Essay


Death Becomes HerStory of an Hour

After reading The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin, it seems as if she was expressing a newfound freedom that Mrs. Mallard had just received after hearing the news of her husbands death. The author shows how after a brief moment of sorrow Mrs. Mallard experienced joy and happiness. Does this mean she didnt love her husband or that she will enjoy her newfound freedom? This paper will take a reader-response analytical view into the meaning the author was trying to convey.

The reason this story was chosen is because of the constricting meaning Kate Chopin placed on marriage. There would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature. A kind intention or a cruel intention made the act seem no less a crime as she looked upon it in that brief moment of illumination (Clugston 2010). This short story speaks about how she is free from all of the burdens marriage and her husband had placed upon her. That she will begin to live for herself and make choices based on her and her alone. Mrs. Mallard feels the ecstasy of being liberated from what seems an agreeable marriage after the apparent accidental death of her husband. But then she comes to question the meaning of love (Bender 1991)

Kate Chopin also uses similes in this writing. Now her bosom rose and fell tumultuously, She was beginning to recognize this thing that was approaching to possess her, and she was striving to best it back with her will-as powerful as her two white slender hands would have been (Clugston 2010). She compares her will to fight back the feeling that was possessing her to that of the fight she would have put up physically. Another example of a simile used in this story was She rose at length and opened the door to her sisters importunities. There was a feverish triumph in her eyes, and she carried herself unwittingly like a goddess of Victory. Metaphors are also used throughout this story. When Chopin speaks of storm of grief and breath of rain, she uses an image which imaginatively compares one thing with another, showing how each has qualities that resemble the other.

The analytical approached used in this paper is the reader-response approach which is a widely used perspective in literary criticism. By finding specific aspects of the literary work that makes you feel as you do youre able to account for the literature. With using this approach the author gives the reader many examples of situations to leave them thinking. For instance, to screen him from the view of his wife, gives the reader a few different ways of analyzing it. Does Chopin want her readers to believe Richards is trying to keep Louise from seeing Bentley or Bentley from seeing Louise?

Either way upon being Free! Body and soul free! she experiences the best hour in her life since being married. She no longer feels trapped. She was drinking in a very elixir of life through that open window For the time that she thought Bentley was deceased, she felt free she enjoyed every minute. The moment when the latch key turned and Mr. Mallard came inside the home she dies of what the doctor explained as heart disease. Had she lived her last hour in true happiness and life couldnt get any better for her? Or had the fear of her life going back to the miserable marriage she just felted freed from enough to kill her?

In conclusion analyzing this story there could be many different outlooks a reader could take from it. Looking at the different meanings behind the story and the different approaches opens you up for a better understanding of literature.


Bender, Bert (1991) The Teeth of Desire: The Awakening and The Descent of Man

American Literature , Vol. 63, No. 3, pp. 459-473.

Clugston, R. W. (2010).Journey into literature. San Diego, California: Bridgepoint Education, Inc. Retrieved from

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