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The Main Themes of The Story of an Hour

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This report demonstrates the analysis of the story The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin. Focusing on what the prominent themes imply, and how are they relevant to the story. This ironically tragic yet powerful short story was written in 1894 in the late Nineteenth Century. Kate Chopin included a vast amount of literary techniques with the indication of a deep meaning in a lyrical, well-written narrative. Within the four characters presented in the story, the reader gets to know only Louise’s thoughts and identify with her from a third person’s perspective.

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Dreary, destitute imprisonment — this is the way Kate Chopin portrays her protagonist’s confinement in an unhappy marriage. Louise is diagnosed as having a heart disease, which is the first information given to the reader. Chopin describes how Louise — the protagonist — handled the news of her husband’s death. She received the news with dramatic weeping at the begging of the story, which makes her reaction afterward quite confusing to the reader. The ambiguously unexpected twist was shocking, Louise was beyond joy, overwhelmed.

In The Story of an Hour, the prominent main themes are the deprivation of independence, and the unfairness or sexism that marriage holds. Both themes are obvious in which reflect the historical background at that time. Whatever way she was controlled by her husband in the story is probably symbolic of the patriarchy, which was at an all-time high during the early twentieth century; the obedience of women to men’s authority was considered typical. Louise, she was trapped by that marriage.

What played a pivotal part in displaying her lack of will is the open window. The view through that window, which is described in great, fervent detail, became a source of great agony as well as great comfort. It resembled what seemed to be something she pursued, something she seeks privately, life. “She was drinking in a very elixir of life through that open window”. The view that open window frames represented freedom in a sense. In our protagonist’s case, she did not mind being called a widow at all, not one bit. She was looking forward to it.

Louise remained seated in front of that window with nothing but her thoughts, until what she desired escaped from her lips. “Free, free, free!” she whispered, as the realization hit her. The new sense she is going through; she is an independent woman now. Not obligated by that man’s demands. Meanwhile, the ending was ironic. How she died from a broken heart, not from the joy of him coming back, but of the independence that was taken from her minutes after it came to her. She died from loss of her freedom that was pulled out of her reach once again.

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In the late Nineteenth century, women were expected to do all the housework. It formed a picture of marriage as being much more like slavery for women. Independence was forbidden. In our modern age, obedience still goes, yet the law has changed. Women nowadays are more exposed to activities men do, and they have the legal right to do the same. Unlike before, women were not confined to stay at home. They can live for themselves and not to just please a man, like Louise’s situation. Some societies are better than others, but overall, women’s rights are guaranteed.

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The Main Themes of The Story of an Hour. (2020, December 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved June 9, 2023, from
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