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Analysis

Literary Devices in The Story of an Hour

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Hearts are frequently used to symbolize love in Western art and culture. We bet you've seen this emoticon before:

Setting

Granted, the scope and length of this story is super limited. The story takes place within an hour, so there's only so much time the characters have to go anywhere or do anything. Still, it's strik...

Narrator Point of View

The use of an omniscient third-person narrator enables Chopin to tell a complete story that's not limited to the protagonist's point of view. This is key because the opening of the story begins wit...

Genre

One nice thing about short stories is you can quickly figure out what genre they belong to – if it's not already obvious from the title or packaging, all you have to do is a page count. You know,...

Tone

The narrator's description of Mrs. Mallard shows someone who brushes off the notions of love and even the best of marriages for the glorious idea of pure freedom. Meanwhile, the people around her t...

Writing Style

The story's very structure is built on ironic juxtapositions. The elements that will later destroy Mrs. Mallard can all be found in the very first paragraph: Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted...

What's Up With the Title?

Surprise! This title refers to the story's duration (an hour) and its actual form (a story). Let's talk about duration first. Obviously, anyone who sits down to read this is going to finish a lot s...

What's Up With the Ending?

The ending of "The Story of an Hour" is a classic fake-out. The event that starts the story off – Mr. Mallard's death – is completely undone in the conclusion. It's the opposite of a linear lif...

Tough-o-Meter

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 t...

Plot Analysis

Mrs. Mallard has a weak heart.This is the setup we need to know for all the events to come, as well as being a piece of characterization. The fact that Mrs. Mallard has a weak heart changes the way...

Trivia

"The Story of an Hour" was originally published in Vogue magazine (source).At one point, Chopin managed a general store(source).

Steaminess Rating

The story only lasts an hour, which doesn't leave the characters much time for things to get steamy. However, for all we know Mrs. Mallard's sister, Josephine, and Mr. Mallard's friend, Richards, h...
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