Kate Chopin's Short Stories

What is the nature of Mrs. Mallard's "heart trouble," and why would the author mention it in the first paragraph? Is there any way in which this might be considered symbolic or ironic?

1. What is the nature of Mrs. Mallard's "heart trouble," and why would the author mention it in the first paragraph? Is there any way in which this might be considered symbolic or ironic?

2. The setting of the story is very limited; it is confined largely to a room, a staircase, and a front door. How does this limitation help to express the themes of the story?

3. In what ways is this passage significant? "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." What kinds of sensory images does this passage contain, and what senses does it address? What does the vision through the open window mean to her? Where else does she taste, smell, or touch something intangible in the story?

Asked by
Last updated by desma r #336954
Answers 2
Add Yours

1) "Chopin both begins and ends with a statement about Louise Mallard's heart trouble, which turns out to have both a physical and a mental component. In the first paragraph of "The Story of an Hour," Chopin uses the term "heart trouble" primarily in a medical sense, but over the course of the story, Mrs. Mallard's presumed frailty seems to be largely a result of psychological repression rather than truly physiological factors. The story concludes by attributing Mrs. Mallard's death to heart disease, where heart disease is "the joy that kills." This last phrase is purposefully ironic, as Louise must have felt both joy and extreme disappointment at Brently's return, regaining her husband and all of the loss of freedom her marriage entails. The line establishes that Louise's heart condition is more of a metaphor for her emotional state than a medical reality."

http://www.gradesaver.com/kate-chopins-short-stories/study-guide/section1/

2) The entire setting is within the Mallard home. We know there's a first floor and a second floor because there's a staircase, and we know that Mrs. Mallard has her own room.

3) This passage deals with Mrs. Mallard's newly found sense of freedom. She feels alive and sees the things around her for what seems like the first time in forever. Rain has a fresh smell, singing and sparrows signify a new awareness......... so many things go unnoticed when you fail to pay attention.

What is the nature of Mrs. Mallard's "heart trouble," and why would the author mention it in the first paragraph? Is there any way in which this might be considered symbolic or ironic?

Source(s)

"The Story of An Hour"