The story of an hour is a traditional example of literary fiction that uses meaning and styles to inform the story. In the first sentence, Kate Chopin presents the primary character Louise Mallard as having heart difficulty. Louise’s sibling and friend concerned inform the disturbing news that her spouse passed away in a train wreck. They take excellent care to pass on the news gently, so as not to disturb her heart condition. Chopin does not explain about the heart trouble, leaving the reader to believe what they will.
The heart difficulty pointed out in the very first line is symbolic and has double meaning. It describes not just the actual physical condition of her heart, but likewise to the discomfort she feels being trapped in a marriage. It was not uncommon in Chopin’s time that married women felt oppressed by their other half’s power and social status. (Shmoop Editorial Team)
After hearing of her other half’s death, Mrs.
Mallard began weeping simultaneously, then retreats to her space by herself to be left alone with her ideas. While she is sitting there, gazing out an open window, her thoughts take over and she begins to feel something that she is trying to repress, due to the fact that she knows society would not allow her these sensations. What she feels is an extreme need and urge for her flexibility and self-reliance, which she would now have due to the fact that her husband is gone. The importance here is that of the open window. Chopin uses the word “open” to describe a number of things in this scene. “The open window from which Louise looks for much of the story represents the liberty and chances that await her after her husband has passed away.”(Grade Saver)
The climax of the story happens when Louise lastly lets go of any thoughts that are holding her back and as she starts to feel this “freedom” she exclaims, “Free! Body and soul free!” (Booth and Mays, 354) Once she is elated by her newly found thoughts, she understands that her sibling has been at the door begging her to open it, for fear that she is making herself ill. She responds, “‘Go away, I am not making myself ill.’ No, she was consuming in the very elixir of life through that open window.”(Booth and Mays, 354) She unlocks and descends down the stairs with her sibling and as she reaches the bottom, somebody is opening the front door with a secret.
This is where the story takes a dramatic turn of occasions which causes a twisted ending. The door opens and her husband walks in, with no knowledge that there even was an accident. At the sight of her hubby, Louise dies suddenly. The medical professional identifies that she died of cardiovascular disease induced by the pleasure of seeing her other half. This is true, but also paradoxical, because “it had actually been the loss of pleasure that had in fact eliminated her”(Shmoop Editorial Group), the loss of her independence. The obvious twist in the end is that her other half would be the one who is released from the oppression of marital relationship.