Imagine a human being where women space fighting for extraordinary rights, the financial climate is unpredictable, and brand-new developments in an innovation are make every year. If this people might sound prefer the existing day, it additionally describes America in the 1890s.

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It remained in this human being that author Kate Chopin wrote and also lived, and many of the problems of the duration are reflected in her brief story, “The Story of an Hour.” Now, end a century later, the story remains among Kate Chopin’s most well-known works and continues to burned light ~ above the inner struggle of ladies who have actually been refuse autonomy.

In this guide to Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour,” we’ll discuss:

A brief background of Kate Chopin and America the 1890s“The Story of an Hour” summary

By the finish of this article, you’ll have an expert grasp on Kate Chopin’s “The Story of one Hour.” So let’s acquire started!


“The Story of one Hour” Summary

If it’s to be a little while due to the fact that you’ve read Kate Chopin’s “The Story of one Hour,” it can be hard to mental the important details. This section consists of a quick recap, yet you can find “The Story of one Hour” PDF and full variation here. We recommend you check out it again before diving right into our analyses in the following section!

For those who just need a refresher, here’s “The Story of an Hour” summary:

Mrs. Louise Mallard is at home when she sister, Josephine, and also her husband’s friend, Richards, concerned tell her that her husband, Brently Mallard, has actually been eliminated in a railroad accident. Richards had gone to the newspaper office as soon as the news broke, and also he bring away Josephine through him to break the news to Louise because they’re afraid of aggravating she heart condition. Top top hearing the news of her husband’s death, Louise is grief-stricken, locks herself in she room, and also weeps.

From here, the story shifts in tone. As Louise procedures the news of she husband’s death, she realizes something wonderful and also terrible at the exact same time: she is free. At an initial she’s fear to recognize it, however Louise easily finds peace and also joy in she admission. She realizes that, although she will certainly be sad about her husband (“she had loved him—sometimes,” Chopin writes), Louise is excited for the possibility to live for herself. She keeps repeating the word “free” as she pertains to terms with what her husband’s death means for she life.

In the meantime, Josephine sit at Louise’s door, coaxing her to come out since she is worried around Louise’s heart condition. After praying the her life is long-lived, Louise agrees come come out. However, together she comes downstairs, the prior door opens up to disclose her husband, who had not been eliminated by the accident in ~ all. Although Richards tries to keep Louise’s heart from shock through shielding she husband from view, Louise dies suddenly, i beg your pardon the doctors later on attribute to “heart disease—of the joy that kills.”


Kate Chopin, the author of "The Story of an Hour," has become one that the most crucial American writers of the 19th century.

The background of Kate Chopin and also the 1890s

Before we move right into “The Story of an Hour” evaluation section, it’s advantageous to recognize a small bit about Kate Chopin and also the human being she lived in.

A short Biography that Kate Chopin

Born in 1850 to affluent Catholic parental in St. Louis, Missouri, Kate Chopin (originally Kate O’Flaherty) knew hardship from an early age. In 1855, Chopin shed her father, Thomas, once he passed away in a tragic and also unexpected railroad accident. The events of this lose would remain with Kate because that the rest of her life, eventually ending up being the basis because that “The Story of an Hour” almost forty years later.

Chopin to be well-educated throughout her childhood, reading voraciously and becoming fluently in French. Chopin was also really aware the the divide in between the powerful and the oppressed in society at the time. She grew up during the U.S. Polite War, therefore she had actually first-hand understanding of violence and slavery in the joined States.

Chopin was also exposed come non-traditional functions for women with her familial situation. She mother, grandmother, and also great-grandmother chose to continue to be widows (rather 보다 remarry) after your husbands died. Consequently, Chopin learned how vital women’s independence can be, and that idea would certainly permeate much of she writing later on on.

As Chopin flourished older, she came to be known for she beauty and also congeniality by society in St. Louis. She was married in ~ the period of nineteen to Oscar Chopin, who came from a affluent cotton-growing family. The pair moved to new Orleans, whereby they would begin both a general store and a big family. (Chopin would give birth come seven youngsters over the next nine years!)

While Oscar adored his wife, he to be less capable of to run a business. Gaue won trouble compelled the family to move roughly rural Louisiana. Unfortunately, Oscar would die the swamp heat in 1882, leaving Chopin in heavy debt and also with the obligation of managing the family’s struggling businesses.

After trying she hand at managing the building for a year, Chopin conceded to her mother’s requests to return through her youngsters to St. Louis. Chopin’s mother died the year after. In order to support herself and also her children, Kate began to write to assistance her family.

Luckily, Chopin found immediate success as a writer. Many of her short stories and novels—including she most well known novel, The Awakening—dealt v life in Louisiana. She was additionally known together a fast and prolific writer, and by the end of the 1900s she had actually written over 100 stories, articles, and essays.

Unfortunately, Chopin would certainly pass far from a suspected cerebral hemorrhage in 1904, at the age of 54. However Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” and also other writings have withstood the check of time. Her work has lived on, and she’s now recognized as one of the most important American authors of the 19th century.


American life to be undergoing far-ranging change in the 19th century. Technology, culture, and also even leisure activities to be changing.

American Life in the 1890s

“The Story of one Hour” to be written and published in 1894, best as the 1800s were coming come a close. As the people moved into the brand-new century, American life to be also changing rapidly.

For instance, the workplace was an altering drastically in the 1890s. Gone to be the days wherein most human being were meant to work at a trade or ~ above a farm. Manufacturing facility jobs carried on by industrialization made work an ext efficient, and also many the these manufacturing facility owners slowly implemented much more humane therapy of their workers, giving castle more leisure time than ever.

Though the country was in an economic recession at this time, technological changes like electric lighting and also the popularization the radios bettered the everyday lives the many people and enabled for the development of new jobs. Notably, however, work-related was various for women. Working women as a totality were looked under upon by society, no issue why they uncovered themselves in need of a job.

Women who functioned while they were married or pregnant to be judged even much more harshly. Ladies of Kate Chopin’s social rank were expected come not work at all, sometimes also delegating the obligation of regulating the residence or child-rearing to maids or nannies. In the 1890s, functioning was only for lower class women who could not purchased a life that leisure.

In reaction come this, the nationwide American woman Suffrage association was developed in 1890, which combated for women’s social and also political rights. If Kate Chopin was no a formal member of the suffragette movements, she did believe that women need to have higher freedoms as individuals and regularly talked about these principles in her works, consisting of in “The Story of one Hour.”


Kate Chopin"s "The Story of an Hour" a quick exploration the marriage and also repression in America.

“The Story of one Hour” Analysis

Now that you have actually some vital background information, it’s time come start evaluating “The Story of one Hour.”

This short story is filled with opposing forces. The themes, characters, and even symbols in the story are frequently equal, however opposite, that one another. Within “The Story of an Hour,” analysis of all of these aspects reveals a depths meaning.

“The Story of one Hour” Themes

A design template is a message explored in a piece of literature. Most stories have actually multiple themes, which is definitely the case in “The Story of an Hour.” Even despite Chopin’s story is short, it discusses the thematic concepts of freedom, repression, and also marriage.

Keep reading for a discussion of the prestige of each theme!

Freedom and Repression

The most prevalent theme in Chopin’s story is the battle between freedom and also “repression.” simply put, repression happens when a who thoughts, feelings, or desires room being subdued. Repression can take place internally and also externally. For example, if a human goes v a traumatic accident, they may (consciously or subconsciously) select to repress the storage of the accident itself. Likewise, if a person has actually wants or demands that culture finds unacceptable, society can work to repress that individual. Females in the 19th century were regularly victims of repression. Lock were claimed to be demure, gentle, and also passive—which often went versus women’s personal desires.

Given this, that becomes obvious that Louise Mallard is the victim of social repression. Till the minute of her husband’s supposed death, Louise does no feel free. In their marriage, Louise is repressed. Readers see this in the fact that Brently is moving approximately in the exterior world, while Louise is border to she home. Brently supplies railroad transportation on his own, walks right into his house of his very own accord, and has individual possessions in the type of his briefcase and also umbrella. Brently is even totally free from the knowledge of the train destructive upon his return home. Louise, top top the various other hand, is grounding at home by virtue that her place as a woman and also her love condition.

Here, Chopin draws a strong contrast between what it means to be complimentary for men and women. While liberty is just component of what it way to be a male in America, flexibility for ladies looks markedly different. Louise’s life is shaped by what society believes a woman have to be and how a wife must behave. Once Louise’s husband “dies,” however, she watch a method where she deserve to start claiming several of the an ext “masculine” freedoms for herself. Chopin shows exactly how deeply necessary freedom is come the life the a mrs when, in the end, it’s not the shock of her husband’s return of her husband that kills Louise, however rather the assumed of losing her liberty again.


Marriage together a “The Story of one Hour” design template is an ext than just an idyllic life invested with a far-ranging other. The Mallard’s marital relationship shows a reality of 1890s life that was acquainted to plenty of people. Marriage to be a means of society control—that is to say, marriage assisted keep ladies in check and secure men’s social and political power. While husbands were usually free to wander the people on your own, host jobs, and also make necessary family decisions, wives (at least those of the upper class) were expected to remain at home and also be domestic.

Marriage in Louise Mallard’s case has very little love. She sees her marital relationship as a life-long link in i beg your pardon she feeling trapped, which reader see when she confesses that she loved she husband just “sometimes.” an ext to the point, she describes her marital relationship as a “powerful will bending hair in that remote persistence v which men and also women believe they have a right to i have loaded a exclusive will upon a fellow-creature.” In various other words, Louise Mallard feels injustice in the expectation the her life is dictated by the will of her husband.

Like the story, the marital relationships Kate experienced often finished in an early or unanticipated death. The women of her family, consisting of Kate herself, all survived their husbands and didn’t remarry. While history tells us that Kate Chopin was happy in her marriage, she was aware that many women weren’t. By mirroring a marriage that had actually been built on control and also society’s expectations, Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” highlights the need for a civilization that respected females as an important partners in marriage and capable individuals.


While this paint by Johann Georg Meyer wasn"t specifically of Louise Mallard, "Young mrs Looking with a Window" is a explicate of what Louise can have looked prefer as she realized her freedom.

"The Story of an Hour" Characters

The finest stories have developed characters, which is the case in “The Story of an Hour,” too. Five personalities make increase the actors of “The Story of an Hour”:

Louise MallardJosephineRichardsBrently MallardThe doctor(s)

By experimenting the details of each character, we can better understand their motivations, societal role, and also purpose come the story.

Louise Mallard

From the opening sentence alone, we find out a lot about Louise Mallard. Chopin writes, “Knowing that Mrs. Mallard to be afflicted through a heart trouble, great care was taken to break come her together gently as feasible the news of she husband’s death.”

From that statement alone, we recognize that she is married, has a love condition, and also is likely to reaction strongly to negative news. We additionally know that the human being who is sharing the poor news see Louise as delicate and sensitive. Throughout the next few paragraphs, we also learn the Louise is a housewife, which shows that she would be part of the middle-to-upper class in the 1890s. Chopin additionally describes Louise’s appearance together “young,” “fair, patience face,” through lines that “strength.” These features are not purely physical, but additionally bleed into her character throughout the story.

Louise’s personality is described as various from other women. While numerous women would be struck v the news in disbelief, Louise cries with “wild abandonment”—which reflects how powerful her emotions are. Additionally, while various other women would be contents to mourn for longer, Louise easily transitions indigenous grief to joy around her husband’s passing.

Ultimately, Chopin provides Louise’s character to present readers what a woman’s usual experience within marriage was in the 1890s. She provides Louise to criticize the oppressive and also repressive nature that marriage, particularly when Louise rejoices in her newfound freedom.


Josephine is Louise’s sister. We never hear that Josephine’s last surname or even if it is she is married or not. We do recognize that she has actually come through Richards, a friend of Brently’s, to rest the news the his death to her sister.

When Josephine tells Louise the poor news, she’s just able to tell Louise of Brently’s death in “veiled hints,” quite than telling her outright. Readers deserve to interpret this together Josephine’s effort at sparing Louise’s feelings. Josephine is particularly worried about her sister’s love condition, i m sorry we check out in greater information later together she alerts Louise, “You will make yourself ill.” once Louise locks herself in she room, Josephine is desperate to make certain her sister is okay and also begs Louise come let her in.

Josephine is the key supporting character because that Louise, helping her mourn, despite she never knows the Louise found new freedom from her husband’s claimed death. However from Josephine’s actions and also interactions with Louise, readers have the right to accurately surmise that she care for she sister (even if she’s unaware of just how miserable Louise finds she life).


Richards is one more supporting character, despite he is explained as Brently’s friend, not Louise’s friend. It is Richards that finds out about Brently Mallard’s claimed death while in ~ the newspaper office—he sees Brently’s surname “leading the perform of ‘killed.’” Richards’ main role in “The Story of one Hour” is come kick off the story’s plot.

Additionally, Richard’s visibility at the newspaper office suggests he’s a writer, editor, or otherwise employee of the newspaper (although Chopin pipeline this come readers’ inferences). Richards bring away enough care to double-check the news and to make certain that Brently’s likely dead. He also enlists Josephine’s aid to break the news to Louise. The tries to obtain to Louise prior to a “less careful, less tender friend” have the right to break the sad news come her, which says that he’s a thoughtful person in his very own right.

It’s likewise important to note is that Richards is conscious of Louise’s love condition, an interpretation that he to know Louise Mallard well enough to recognize of her health and also how she is likely to bear grief. He appears again in the story in ~ the very end, when he do the efforts (and fails) to shield Brently indigenous his wife’s view to protect against her heart from reaction badly. If Richards is a background personality in the narrative, he demonstrates a high level that friendship, consideration, and care because that Louise.


Brently Mallard would have actually been speak in a train like this one as soon as the accident supposedly occurred.

Brently Mallard

Mr. Brently Mallard is the husband of the key character, Louise. us get few details around him, though readers do understand he’s been on a train that has met v a major accident. For the bulk of the story, readers believe Brently Mallard is dead—though the end of “The Story of one Hour” reveals the he’s been lively all along. In fact, Brently doesn’t even know the the railroad tragedy as soon as he arrives house “travel-stained.”

Immediately after ~ Louise hears the news that his death, she remembers that fondly. She remarks ~ above his “kind, tender hands” and also says that Brently “never looked save with love” ~ above her. It’s no so lot Brently as it’s her marital relationship to the which oppresses Louise. While the apparently constantly loved Louise, Louise just “sometimes” love Brently. She continually felt that he “impose a personal will” upon her, as many husbands do their wives. And also while she realizes that Brently most likely did so there is no malice, she likewise realized that “a sort intention or a cruel intention” makes the repression “no less a crime.”

Brently’s absence in the story does 2 things. First, it contrasts starkly with Louise’s life of illness and confinement. Second, Brently’s absence allows Louise come imagine a life of freedom exterior of the confines of marriage, which offers her hope. In fact, once he appears alive and also well (and dashes Louise’s wishes of freedom), she overcome away.

The Doctor(s)

Though the mention of lock is brief, the final sentence of the story is striking. Chopin writes, “When the physicians came they stated she had passed away of love disease—of the joy that kills.” simply as she had no freedom in life, her liberation native the death of she husband is told as a delight that killed her.

In life together in death, the reality of Louise Mallard is never ever known. Everything the readers know about her joy in her newfound flexibility happens in Louise’s own mind; she never gets the opportunity to re-superstructure her an enig joy through anyone else.

Consequently, the finishing of the story is double-sided. If the physicians are to be believed, Louise Mallard to be happy to see her husband, and also her love betrayed her. And also outwardly, no one has any type of reason to suspect otherwise. She reaction is that of a dutiful, fragile wife who couldn’t be affected by each other the shock of she husband reverted from the grave.

But readers deserve to infer the Louise Mallard died of the grief that a liberty she never ever had, then found, then lost once more. Readers have the right to interpret Louise’s fatality as her endure of true grief in the story—that because that her appropriate life, summary realized then snatched away.


In "The Story of one Hour," the appearance of hearts indicate both repression and also hope.

“The Story of an Hour” Symbolism and also Motifs

Symbols are any type of object, word, or other facet that appear in the story and have additional meanings beyond. Motifs are elements from a story that gain an interpretation from being recurring throughout the narrative. The line in between symbols and also motifs is frequently hazy, yet authors usage both to assist communicate your ideas and themes.

In “The Story of one Hour,” symbolism is everywhere, however the three significant symbols current in the story are:

The heartThe house and the outdoorsJoy and sorrow

The Heart

Heart disease, described as a “heart condition” in ~ the text, opens and closes the text. The disease is the initial cause for anyone concern, since Louise’s condition makes she delicate. Later, heart disease causes Louise’s death upon Brently’s for sure return. In this case, Louise’s sick heart has actually symbolic value because it says to readers that her life has left she heartbroken. Once she believes she finally found freedom, Louise prays because that a long life...when simply the day before, she’d “had assumed with a shudder that life could be long.”

As Louise realizes she freedom, it’s almost as if her heart sparks ago to life. Chopin writes, “Now her bosom rose and fell tumultuously...she to be striving to beat that back...Her pulses to win fast, and also the coursing blood warmed and also relaxed every inch of she body.” These words indicate that, with her newfound freedom, the symptoms of she heart an illness have lifted. Readers have the right to surmise the Louise’s diseased heart is the result of being repressed, and hope brings she heart back to life.

Unfortunately, once Brently comes back, so does Louise’s heart disease. And, although her death is attributed to joy, the return of her (both symbolic and also literal) heart disease kills she in the end.


The House and the Outdoors

The second set that symbols space Louise’s house and also the human being she can see outside of her window. Chopin contrasts these 2 symbolic photos to aid readers much better understand just how marriage and also repression have influenced Louise.

First that all, Louise is confined to the home—both within the story and in general. Because that her, however, her house isn’t a ar to relax and feel comfortable. It’s much more like a jail cell. All of the explanation of the home reinforce the idea that it’s closed off and inescapable. Because that instance, the prior door is locked once Mr. Mallard return home. As soon as Mrs. Mallard is overcome with grief, she go deeper within her house and also locks herself in she room.

In the room, however, Mrs. Mallard takes note of the the end by looking out of she window. Also in her short-term grief, she explains the “open square before her house” and also “the new spring life.” The outdoors symbolize liberty in the story, for this reason it’s no surprise that she realizes she newfound flexibility as she looks the end her window. Everything about the external is free, beautiful, open, inviting, and also pleasant...a stark comparison from the sadness within the house.

The house and also its distinctions from outdoors offer as one of many symbols because that how Louise feels around her marriage: barred indigenous a civilization of independence.

Joy and also Sorrow

Finally, joy and sorrow are motifs that come at unforeseen times throughout “The Story of an Hour.” Chopin juxtaposes joy and sorrow to highlight just how tragedy publication Louise from her sorrow and offers her a joyous hope for the future.

At first, sorrow shows up as Louise mourns the fatality of she husband. Yet, in just a couple of paragraphs, she finds delight in the event as she discovers a life of she own. Despite Louise is able to check out that feeling pleasure at such an occasion is “monstrous,” she proceeds to revel in her happiness.

It is later that, once others mean her to it is in joyful, Josephine allows out a “piercing cry,” and also Louise dies. Doctors interpret this together “the pleasure that kills,” but an ext likely the a sorrow the kills. The reversal the the “appropriate” feelings at each occasion reveals just how counterintuitive the “self-assertion i beg your pardon she suddenly recognized as the strongest impulse of she being” is to the neighboring culture. This paradox discover something staggering about Louise’s married life: she is for this reason unhappy through her situation that grief provides her hope...and she dies once that expect is bring away away.


Key Takeaways: Kate Chopin"s “The Story of an Hour”

Analyzing Chopin’s “The Story of one Hour” bring away time and careful thought despite the shortness of the story. The story is open to multiple interpretations and has a lot to reveal about women in the 1890s, and countless of the story’s themes, characters, and symbols critique women’s marriage roles during the period.

There’s a lot of to dig through once it concerns “The Story of one Hour” analysis. If you’re emotion overwhelmed, simply remember a couple of things:

Events from Kate Chopin’s life and from social changes in the 1890s detailed a solid basis for the story.Mrs. Louise Mallard’s love condition, house, and feelings represent deeper meanings in the narrative.Louise goes indigenous a state that repression, to freedom, and then earlier to repression, and also the thought alone is sufficient to kill her.

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Remembering the key plot points, themes, characters, and also symbols will aid you write any essay or take part in any type of discussion. Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” has actually much an ext to uncover, so check out it again, asking questions, and also start trying out the story past the page!


What’s Next?

You might have found your means to this write-up because examining literature deserve to be tricky to master. But like any type of skill, you deserve to improve v practice! First, make sure you have actually the right tools because that the job by learning about literary elements. Begin by mastering the 9 elements in every piece of literature, climate dig right into our element-specific guides (like this one ~ above imagery and this one top top personification.) Another great way to start practicing your analytical skills is to review through extr expert guides like this one. Literary guides can assist show girlfriend what come look for and explain why specific details space important. You have the right to start v our analysis of Dylan Thomas’ poem, “Do no go gentle right into that good night.” We additionally have longer guides on other words prefer The an excellent Gatsby and The Crucible, too. If you’re prepare to take it the AP literary works exam, it’s also more important that you’re able come quickly and also accurately analyze a text. Don’t worry, though: we’ve gained tons of helpful material for you. First, examine out this rundown of the AP literature exam. Once you have actually a handle on the test, you have the right to start practicing the multiple selection questions, and also even take it a couple of full-length exercise tests. Oh, and also make certain you’re all set for the essay part of the check by checking out our AP literature reading list!