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Analysis of “Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin

“Story of an Hour” was written by Kate Chopin in the late 18th century, and is much different as compared to other short stories. It is a dramatic example of a woman who suddenly finds herself blessed with the long-desired freedom that she internally sought from a repressive marriage. The author has vividly portrayed the suppressed lifestyle of women in marriage during that time. The story is very short in having covered only the last hour of the lady’s life and has created a strong effect on the reader in conveying the restricted rights that women had during those days. The author has used an entirely unique concept and literary technique in conveying the sense of the story. The story depicts the life of a lady, Mrs. Millard, whose married life is not at all satisfying and the author has relied on using different elements in bringing out the message that makes the story very exciting for the reader. The main theme behind the story pertains to the extreme discontentment that Mrs. Millard has to go through in regard to her expectations from her married life.

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In view of being a heart patient, she is very cautiously conveyed the message of her husband’s sudden death in an accident, and upon realizing the consequences of such information she is in a state of literal shock. It is evident that she felt a sense of relief in having been freed from the dormant life that she was required to lead with her husband. She felt she now had a new lease of life in not having to be tied down with her husband anymore. She saw a new ray of hope in her life and looked forward to a change for betterment so that she would live for herself without being restrained by anyone in any way. After receiving the news she started to feel young again as if it was her rebirth. Her feelings are clearly portrayed in her soft narrations in saying that she is free again and her body and soul to are free in the same way. It is clear that she now believes that her soul is no longer bound with the torture that her husband had been inflicting on her. The lady is literally lost in a dream world rejoicing in her newfound freedom that has been showered upon her. The end of the story portrays a situation whereby the lady’s husband makes a surprise entry to the utter surprise and shock of her sister Josephine and Richard, who is her husband’s friend. The truth now dawns on them that Mr. Millard is in fact alive. Mr. Millard informs that he did not have the faintest of ideas in regard to the accident, and Mrs. Millard, unable to bear the extreme shock in view of her weak heart, dies instantly. The doctor confirmed her death as being caused due to heart failure and the story ends with the phrase, “of joy that kills” (Kate Chopin, The Story of an Hour).

The author has used different literary elements in the story by way of similes, imagery, and personification. Personification is clearly evident when it is said of her as, “she was young, with a fair, calm face, whose lines bespoke repression” (Kate Chopin, The Story of an Hour). Such an element does reveal her sense of repression since it makes the reader become aware of the extent to which she was depressed in life as related to her husband. Imagery is portrayed in the description, “The delicious breath of rain was in the air. In the street below a peddler was crying his wares. The notes of a distant song which someone was singing reached her faintly, and countless sparrows were twittering in the eaves” (Kate Chopin, The Story of an Hour). She could see the open squares in front of the house and looked down on the trees that were ripe with the fresh life of spring. By using such explanations of the imagery, the author has assisted the reader into seeing and having a feel of the natural environment that was experienced by the main character of the story. This enables a thorough understanding of the poem at all levels. In using similes, the author has conveyed and described the extreme calm and happiness that were evident in such moments of joy, “She carried herself unwittingly like a goddess of Victory” (Kate Chopin, The Story of an Hour). In essence, she is depicted as feeling totally free from all bonds and from all negative vibes.

The message that conclusively establishes the core issue in the poem pertains to freedom being a prized possession in Mrs. Millard’s point of view and that upon hearing the news of her husband’s death; she did feel as if she has recaptured the freedom that was so far missing in her life.


Kate Chopin, A Re-Awakening, The Story of an Hour, 2009. Web.

Kate Chopin, The Story of an Hour, Chopin, 2009. Web.

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