Study Guide

The Story of an Hour Genre

By Kate Chopin


Short Story, Family Drama

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, eyeball it. The shorter the work (that is, if it's fiction instead of poetry), the more likely it is to be a short story. So, formally, "The Story of an Hour" is a short story. No surprise there. But what should this be classified as in terms of its content?

Shmoop says this is a family drama. The whole story takes place in the home, so the focus is on the family who lives there; plus, the topic of the story is the loss of a spouse. With a friend's delivery of bad news, Mrs. Mallard's wild crying and emotional epiphany, and her sister's begging at the door for admittance, Chopin's work has the same ingredients you might find in an emotionally charged episode of As the World Turns. The real question in this drama, though, is which spouse is actually being lost – and that's something you only find out at the end.

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