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"The Story of An Hour"
Transcript of "The Story of An Hour"
We will begin with our skit. We will be acting out Louis Mallard's eulogy
Elements in the Story
The first element we examined was conflict. We found three types of conflict in this story. The first is character versus self, the second is character versus character, and the third is character versus society.
-The authors use of imagery helps to develop the mood of the main character as she thinks about life without her husband.
"she sank, pressed down by the physical exhaustion that haunted her body and seemed to reach into her soul" (Chopin, 201).
-She was physically and emotionally devastated when first hearing the news about her husbands death
The third element we examined was the theme of the story, which was the idea of forbidden happiness. When Brently Mallard 'dies', Mrs. Mallard comes to the joyous realization that she is now an independent person. Although her thoughts are private, she tried to hide the joy she feels and attempts to "beat it back with her will" (Chopin 201). Her resistance towards her true emotions reveals how forbidden her pleasure is. The rest of society will never accept or understand Louise and her independence. This is why the joy of independence is forbidden for her. Since this happiness is taken away from her, she dies as a repressed and restrained women due to her husband and society.
An oxymoron found in the short story "The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin is "monstrous joy" (paragraph 12). It is an oxymoron because monstrous means to be hideous or to have the appearance of a monster; and joy means to have a great feeling of happiness. These words are opposites, as in one is a darker feeling and the other is a light, happy feeling. In the story the phrase is presented in a bad way, by saying that the joy that Mrs.Mallard, after she was told her husband had died, is wrong.
Our Overall Opinion
As a group we felt very divided as to whether we liked or disliked 'The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin. We disliked it because we as readers felt confused while reading. This is because Mrs. Mallards feelings changed very abruptly through out the story. For example, when she was given the news of her husbands death, she was devastated and full of grief. However, when she was left alone, she suddenly became happy and felt free. This confused us because we were never sure as to how she felt and this made it difficult to stay captivated and to understand the story.
The second element we examined was character. We examined both Louis Mallard and Brently Mallard.
• This short story makes the reader feel confused. At the beginning one feels sad for Mrs. Mallard because of the loss of her husband, Mr. Mallard. In the middle of the story you feel some sort of happiness for Mrs. Mallard because she is now feeling happy and free. Then at the end, you feel sad once again because Mrs. Mallard finds out that Mr. Mallard is alive and that news causes her to have a heart attack and die.
• “She wept at once, with sudden wild abandonment, in her sister’s arms. When the storm of grief had spent itself she went away to her room alone” (Chopin, 201).
The story we will be presenting for you today is called, "The Story of an Hour". It was written by Kate Chopin, and published in 1894.
• In the short story “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin there are examples of dramatic, situational, and verbal irony.
(i) Dramatic Irony: Where the audience or reader is aware of something important, of which the the characters in the story are not aware (or vise-versa).
(ii) Situational Irony: Where an event occurs that is not expected.
(iii) Verbal Irony: Where the meaning of the expression is, or is intended to be, the exact opposite of what the words literally mean.
Character versus Society
In the story, society downgrades women. Mr. Mallard is no exception because he treats his wife as inferior and not as equals. This is why Mrs. Mallard has suffered from repression all her life. This causes a conflict between her and societies view of women.
Character versus Self
Louis Mallard experienced an internal conflict throughout the story. In the short story, she found herself fighting with her own feelings, between what she should feel/act and what her true feeling are. When Mrs. Mallard is told the news of her husbands death, it seems that she is depressed and grief-stricken. However when she "abandon[s] herself, a little whispered word escape[s] ... under her breath 'free, free, free'" (Chopin 201). This shows the readers how she really feels, which is not the way she is 'supposed' to feel.
Character versus Self + Character versus Character
Mrs. Mallard ironically dies from a "heart disease-of-joy that kills" (Chopin 202). However she doesn't die from the joy of seeing her husband, but from the thought that the joy she experienced is now over. This is character versus self as well as character versus character because Mr. Mallard indirectly kills his wife since it is the sight of him that kills her.
The story starts off when Louise Mallard first learns about her husbands death. The news of him dying in an accident shocks her and she starts to cry in her sisters arms. She then escapes to the tranquility of her room. Alone in her room, Louise starts to think about what will happen next. She knows she is sad that he died, but she also thinks about how independent and free her life will now be. She is so absorbed in this new found happiness, that it overcomes her. When her sister finally brings her out of her room, she finds her husband alive and well. Seeing him gives her a sudden heart attack and it is her new found joy that kills her.
Mrs. Mallard is described as "young with a fair, calm face whose lines bespoke repression and even some strength" (Chopin 201). Through out the story, we discover that Ms. Mallard is a dynamic character. For example, when Louise discovered her husband was dead, she feels grief. However it becomes clear that a stronger emotion is taking over, and this emotion is happiness. Though this kind of reaction may seem strange, it actually shows tremendous strength and bravery. This is because all women at this time were supposed to be obedient towards their husbands. Mrs. Mallard is a complex character whose gone through years of repression and as a result died an untimely death.
Mr. Mallard is the husband of Louis. In the beginning of the story, we discover that Mr. Mallard has died in a fatal accident. However, through out the story we discover many things about him. We learn that Mr. Mallard was not a loving husband. Mrs. Mallard admits that " she had loved him—sometimes. Often she had not" (Chopin 201). Brently did not love or appreciate his wife and often oppressed her. This is why Louis was so happy when she discovered that her husband had died. However in an unexpected twist, we discovered that Mr. Mallard has not passed away.
In "The Story of an Hour", I found one distinct example of foreshadowing. Foreshadowing is the element of literature in which the author hints or gives an indication of a future event that will happen in the story. On the very first line of the story it says: "Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with heart trouble, great care was taken to her as gently as possible, the news of her husband's death" (Chopin 1). Later in the story, we find out that she ends up dying of heart disease. This is an example of foreshadowing because it tells us that she already had heart trouble and in the end, she ended up dying because of her failing heart.
• “She knew that she would weep again when she saw the kind, tender hands folded in death; the face that had never looked save with love upon her, fixed and gray and dead. But she saw beyond that bitter moment a long procession of years to come that would belong to her absolutely. And she opened and spread her arms out to them in welcome” (202).
• These different feelings make the reader feel confused and unsure of what o feel. But, with Chopin’s use of mood one will see that the story is dark in a sense because of the death of Mr. Mallard and then that death killing Mrs. Mallard. As well, it makes the reader think about what Mrs. Mallard really felt about the loss of her husband. Which is this sense of freedom and living life for her self.
• All these different feelings with Chopin’s use of mood make sense. This dark, and uncertainty keeps the reader engaged in the story, and feel as if he/her were a part of it.
-"the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life. The delicious breath of rain in the air... The notes of a distant song which some one was singing reached her faintly, and countless sparrows were twittering in the eaves" (201)
-The author is now portraying a happy and spring like environment and the character is slowly realizing the death of her husband as something that is positive
-The imagery in this story is very important because it allows the readers to see how Mrs. Mallard's thoughts and emotions change as the story progresses.
A symbol is an object that represents another meaning. I found two symbols in this story. The first is the window. The window represents Mrs. Mallard being able to see things in a new light. An example of this is when her sister asks to come in because she doesn't want Mrs. Mallard to fall ill, but actually she was "drinking in a very elixir of life through that window" (Chopin 201). The window is a symbol of her new found freedom and her new perspective. Secondly, the weather is a symbol for the start of new beginnings. In the story, it is springtime, and this season is synonymous for new beginnings. An example of this is when the weather is described as "the new spring life" (Chopin 201). The weather symbolizes Mrs. Mallard starting new.
• Situational Irony:
- When Mrs. Mallard is told the news of her husbands death it seems that she is so depressed and grief-stricken that she wishes to be alone, but to the readers surprise Louise Mallard wishes to be alone not to grieve to herself but to comprehend her freedom as a Victorian wife. When she “abandon[s] herself a little whispered word escape[s]… under her breath: ‘free, free, free’”, which tells the reader of her true feelings towards the death of her husband. Mrs. Mallard's friends and her sister assume that she is deeply in love with her husband, and take great care when telling her of his death, but what they don't know is they were in fact bringing her an hour of life, and joyous freedom.
- The turn of events in the hour where Brently Mallard appears to be alive and Mrs. Mallard, who believes her life of freedom is just about to begin, dies. It’s ironic how Mrs. Mallard dies just when she is beginning to live and Brently Mallard who appeared to be dead is alive, as he “had been far from the scene of the accident and didn't even know there had been one”(Jackson203).
• Dramatic Irony:
- When Mrs. Mallard will not allow Josephine to help her upstairs, it seems that she is so grief-stricken that she wishes to be alone, but instead of grieving as Josephine thinks, Louise Mallard rejoices for her new freedom. This is dramatic irony because the readers know of Mrs. Mallard’s true feelings, but Josephine and Richards do not.
• Verbal Irony:
- When Mrs.Mallard is said to have “heart trouble” in the beginning of the story, Chopin does not mean trouble with the organ of the body, but the soul, as Mrs. Mallard suffers from repression.
- Mrs. Mallard is diagnoses to have died of “heart disease- of joy that kills”, which is partially true as she had experienced great joy in the last hour, but the doctor misunderstood the joy that kills her (Chopin 203). She did not die from the joy of seeing her husband alive, but her realization that the great joy she experienced during the last hour was over.
However we also had many likes. We liked how this story was able to take such a complex theme such as women's right and opression, and simplify it in a couple of pages.While some authors may need an entire novel to convey this message, Kate Chopin requires only a page.We also liked how this message makes us appreciate the freedom we were blessed to have been given. Overall we enjoyed this short story.