We've got your back. With the Tough-O-Meter, you'll know whether to bring extra layers or Swiss army knives as you summit the literary mountain. (10 = Toughest)
(3) Base Camp
From a technical standpoint, this short story isn't that hard to read. It's short, it's a story… and did we mention that it's short? What's great about "The Story of an Hour" is that it conveys the atmosphere and feeling of interesting characters, as well as their time and place, just as a longer novel might. Yet a reader can slip in and out of this short story in no time at all. It's the literary equivalent of flying from San Francisco to Los Angeles. As soon as you get settled in, unbuckle your seatbelt, and turn on your iPod, the pilot starts prepping for landing and you have to go looking for your luggage. You've traveled a substantial distance in no time at all, which starts to feel kind of weird. It's the unsettling feeling readers are left with after the story's over that bumps this rating up – the irony that, rather than losing her husband, Mrs. Mallard should die when she's only really begun to live.