Kate Chopin's Short Stories

Kate Chopin’s Story, “The Story of an Hour” as a Social Commentary College

Kate Chopin’s short story “The Story of an Hour” both makes use of irony and draws upon the experiences and feelings of a wife in the nineteenth century. After her husband has been pronounced dead in a tragic accident, the main character, Mrs. Mallard, is revealed in psychological detail to the reader. In telling the story, Chopin describes the myriad emotions that her protagonist dwells upon in solitude: some of these emotions are expected, whereas others are not. While the role of a nineteenth century housewife is relevant to understanding the introspection of Mrs. Mallard, it is the irony that ties these elements together to deliver a short but impacting story.

The story begins with a description of Mrs. Mallard and her physical malady. Deliberate emphasis is placed on her frail and delicate nature, as she is described as being “afflicted with a heart trouble.” The troubling news that is delivered to her that day is that of the untimely death of her husband in a train accident. Her sister takes deliberate care to reveal the news in “broken sentences” and “veiled hints that revealed in half concealing.” When Mrs. Mallard finally accepts and hears the news of her husband’s death, “she wept at once, with sudden, wild...

Join Now to View Premium Content

GradeSaver provides access to 739 study guide PDFs and quizzes, 4416 literature essays, 1446 sample college application essays, 182 lesson plans, and ad-free surfing in this premium content, “Members Only” section of the site! Membership includes a 10% discount on all editing orders.

Join Now

Already a member? Log in