The Story of an Hour

Discussion 1 — “The Story of an Hour”

Please post in this board TWICE. First, isolate five key words or phrases from the short story that summarize the story in its entirety (a phrase is no more than four or five words). In your post, explain why you’ve chosen the five words or phrases and HOW they manage to summarize the whole story.

For your second post, comment on (no more than 150-200 words is necessary for this one).

Heart Trouble: Mrs. Mallard, or Louise, had a heart problem, which is the cause for the very end of the piece. Her heart was unable to handle not the news that her husband was dead, but rather the shock that came when she found out he was alive.

Free! Body and Soul Free!: Louise believed she was finally free from her husband’s grasp from the news of his death. She was the free in the sense that she could finally live for herself and live a life she wants. We see that in the end, while she is still free, she is not free in the way she wanted. Her husband is alive and she is dead. Her own death had set her free, yet she is unable to live this life she hoped for.

Joy that Kills: Mrs.Mallard’s heart trouble was triggered by shock, fear, and overall, joy. She was so overcome with the joy of her husband’s death that when she saw her husband, the shock was too much for her to handle. It was so overwhelmingly painful for her to grasp and process that it killed her. Ultimately, the doctors had believed she died from the joy of seeing her husband again, but really it was the shock that crushed her hopes, dreams, and her happiness.

Hidden feelings: It is shown that Mrs.Mallard hides her feelings about her husband for years and upon hearing the news of the accident, she hides her pure joy and happiness by locking herself in her room where no one can see her. She has hidden her dissatisfaction with her marriage and life up until now and she will only hide her glee from others but will soon find herself free to do as she pleases. Yet her feelings remain hidden until the end since she is never given the chance to express them properly due to her sudden death.

Misinterpretations: The story is filled with misinterpretations, especially about one’s feelings. We think, like every other character, that Louise is shocked and heart broken over her husband’s death. We misinterpret her shock as mourning, but in reality, she is filled with joy. Josephine misinterprets Louise’s feelings, along with sees her locking herself in her room as her isolating herself out of grief and depression when it is the exact opposite. It happens again at the end, with the doctors. They think her heart gave out due to the shock and pure joy of seeing her husband safe and sound when Mrs. Mallard’s shock was not one of happiness, but rather pure fear and distraught.
-You can feel free to agree or disagree with them, just don’t be rude or confrontational! Disagreement is perfectly fine::

Discussion Two — “The Story of an Hour”

Consider how this short story quickly takes the reader through an hour in a woman’s life — when so much occurs so quickly. Is there a relationship between the content of this story (the quick news, the very brief mourning, the sudden turn of events, etc.) and the way in which the story is told? In other words, does a relationship exist between form and content in this story?

“The Story of An Hour”

Kate Chopin (1894)

Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with a heart trouble, great care was taken to break to her as gently as possible the news of her husband’s death.

It was her sister Josephine who told her, in broken sentences; veiled hints that revealed in half concealing. Her husband’s friend Richards was there, too, near her. It was he who had been in the newspaper office when intelligence of the railroad disaster was received, with Brently Mallard’s name leading the list of “killed.” He had only taken the time to assure himself of its truth by a second telegram, and had hastened to forestall any less careful, less tender friend in bearing the sad message.

She did not hear the story as many women have heard the same, with a paralyzed inability to accept its significance. 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. She would have no one follow her.

There stood, facing the open window, a comfortable, roomy armchair. Into this she sank, pressed down by a physical exhaustion that haunted her body and seemed to reach into her soul.

She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life. The delicious breath of rain was in the air. In the street below a peddler was crying his wares. The notes of a distant song which some one was singing reached her faintly, and countless sparrows were twittering in the eaves.

There were patches of blue sky showing here and there through the clouds that had met and piled one above the other in the west facing her window.

She sat with her head thrown back upon the cushion of the chair, quite motionless, except when a sob came up into her throat and shook her, as a child who has cried itself to sleep continues to sob in its dreams.

She was young, with a fair, calm face, whose lines bespoke repression and even a certain strength. But now there was a dull stare in her eyes, whose gaze was fixed away off yonder on one of those patches of blue sky. It was not a glance of reflection, but rather indicated a suspension of intelligent thought.

There was something coming to her and she was waiting for it, fearfully. What was it? She did not know; it was too subtle and elusive to name. But she felt it, creeping out of the sky, reaching toward her through the sounds, the scents, the color that filled the air.

Now her bosom rose and fell tumultuously. She was beginning to recognize this thing that was approaching to possess her, and she was striving to beat it back with her will–as powerless as her two white slender hands would have been. When she abandoned herself a little whispered word escaped her slightly parted lips. She said it over and over under hte breath: “free, free, free!” The vacant stare and the look of terror that had followed it went from her eyes. They stayed keen and bright. Her pulses beat fast, and the coursing blood warmed and relaxed every inch of her body.

She did not stop to ask if it were or were not a monstrous joy that held her. A clear and exalted perception enabled her to dismiss the suggestion as trivial. 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.

There would be no one to live for during those coming years; she would live for herself. There would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature. A kind intention or a cruel intention made the act seem no less a crime as she looked upon it in that brief moment of illumination.

And yet she had loved him–sometimes. Often she had not. What did it matter! What could love, the unsolved mystery, count for in the face of this possession of self-assertion which she suddenly recognized as the strongest impulse of her being!

The Story of an Hour

“Free! Body and soul free!” she kept whispering.

Josephine was kneeling before the closed door with her lips to the keyhold, imploring for admission. “Louise, open the door! I beg; open the door–you will make yourself ill. What are you doing, Louise? For heaven’s sake open the door.”

“Go away. I am not making myself ill.” No; she was drinking in a very elixir of life through that open window.

Her fancy was running riot along those days ahead of her. Spring days, and summer days, and all sorts of days that would be her own. She breathed a quick prayer that life might be long. It was only yesterday she had thought with a shudder that life might be long.

She arose at length and opened the door to her sister’s importunities. There was a feverish triumph in her eyes, and she carried herself unwittingly like a goddess of Victory. She clasped her sister’s waist, and together they descended the stairs. Richards stood waiting for them at the bottom.

Some one was opening the front door with a latchkey. It was Brently Mallard who entered, a little travel-stained, composedly carrying his grip-sack and umbrella. He had been far from the scene of the accident, and did not even know there had been one. He stood amazed at Josephine’s piercing cry; at Richards’ quick motion to screen him from the view of his wife.

When the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease–of the joy that kills.


The Story of an Hour

Last Updated on January 29, 2018

Don`t copy text!