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The Use of Setting in The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin

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“The Story of an Hour” is a short story by Kate Chopin. The use of setting will be easier because the reader can associate these facts with some human behaviours or some human emotions. Also, Chopin uses these setting facts in her story. In this story, Kate Chopin writes about, the story of a woman – Mrs. Mallard – whose husband dies because of a train accident but at the end of the story Mrs. Mallard learns that he is alive. Also, Chopin claims, how Mrs. Mallard reacts to this situation within an hour, what she recognises about herself and what she wants from her life. In this story, Chopin points out some situations and feelings to use the setting facts. In this essay, I will analyse the use of setting and what it represents in Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour”.

First of all, in this story, Chopin uses lots of setting items to show the reader what will happen next. In the first place, this story contains some natural elements of setting. For example, rainy weather in the story is to show the reader Mrs. Mallard’s sadness about her husband’s death. After Mrs. Mallard recognises she is free, the weather conditions change in a good way, which is mentioned in the story with this sentence: “There were patches of blue sky showing here and there through the clouds had met and piled one above the other in the west facing window” In this sentence, Chopin tries to emphasise the reader that Mrs.

Mallard begins to recognise that she is free from her husband and her life, she does not have to think about society and now she can do whatever she wants. Moreover, “patches of blue sky” are there but, behind the rain clouds which means, sadness of Mrs. Mallard is past partially recognises freedom will come and this reconstitution brings her happiness. Besides, “patches of blue sky”is used for her hopes. The hopes that comes to Mrs. Mallard’s mind and she begins to think about them.

That demonstrates to the reader the excitement which is flares up inside Mrs. Mallard. Also, another item is used to remark “in the west facing her window” to show the reader, the improvement of Mrs. Mallard’s wisdom. The author claims with this phrase that, Mrs. Mallard can think about feminism and women rights. Chopin claims that Mrs. Mallard does not have to comply to her husband. Also, “in the west facing her window” points out freedom. That means, she can decide what she will do in the future and she does not ask anyone’s opinions about this.

However, “west” term is also used for death because the sun sets from the west and the sun rises from the east on the earth. In a word, her past life dies but her future life is going to begin that day when she learns her husband’s death. When she recognises benefits of the freedom and when she starts to recognise that she is a bit afraid of the freedom the weather conditions go from bad to worse. To suggest this, Chopin writes: “creeping out of the sky, reaching toward the sounds, the scents, the colour that filled the air.” Weather takes shape according to Mrs. Mallard’s feelings about her husband’s death and her new life.

Mrs. Mallard is afraid of taking consequences of her behaviours because she does not have to take consequences before. With these quotations the reader can understand that Mrs. Mallard wants to be free, but she is not ready to be free because Mrs. Mallard thinks about drawbacks of freedom. When Mrs. Mallard starts to think about disadvantages of freedom, weather conditions go to worse in this story. Moreover, Mrs. Mallard can only see the spring weather through the window of her room. Alongside these quotes Chopin emphasises that Mrs. Mallard wants to stay her home and her room which is her safe area in the story but she also, wants to discover beauties of the world which she cannot discover with her husband. To point out Mrs Mallard’s dilemma about freedom Chopin writes these quotes. Finally, birds are tweeting Mrs. Mallard hears these birds from outside the window inside her room evidences that the spring is coming and good things will be happened to Mrs. Mallard’s future life in the story. Rewrite.

Secondly, Chopin emphasises some setting elements for Mrs. Mallard’s house in this short story. Setting elements for the house asserts the contrast of freedom idea. However, it also demonstrates Mrs. Mallard’s safe area, in this story. For example, when Mrs. Mallard is informed about her husband’s death she runs and hides into her room and also, she does not go out from there; furthermore, she recognises the freedom idea, comforts herself, and cries in that place. In a word, she is defenseless there, and she can think whatever she wants and do whatever she wants.

Mrs. Mallard’s room stands for a castle for Mrs. Mallard in this story because castles have security and no one can go inside the castle without any permission. Also, the room stands for a prison in this story somehow because, she can only see the spring on her window and she cannot reach spring and the freedom itself, which is mentioned in the story with these terms; “a comfortable and roomy armchair” which is “facing the window”.

When Mrs. Mallard sees that armchair and sits that she feels comfortable and safe and she begins to think about her future and freedom. However, she does not want to leave the comfortable room and armchair. Armchair stands for safeness in the story. Also, in front of the armchair there is a window which is associated with rails in this story because, if the room associates with a prison, the window in Mrs. Mallard’s room should associate with rails. Mrs. Mallard only thinks about freedom in this story and she cannot reach freedom but she can only look outside and dream about it. She behaves like a prisoner. Finally, the door states that walls to protect Mrs. Mallard from public, such as her sister Josephine and one of her husband’s friend Richard. They cannot reach her without her permission. In a word, door stands for her mind in a way. Society cannot reach her mind without her permission. Also, the door stands for entrance of the safe and comfortable area for Mrs. Mallard.

In conclusion, there are some elements that emphasises characters and characters’ feelings, emotions and behaviours in this story. There are two aspects of elements of the setting. These are natural elements and elements of setting for Mr. Mallard’s house. I have analysed, what Chopin points out and what she wants to maintain to use of these elements of settings and also, how it affects the story.

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The Use Of Setting In The Story Of An Hour By Kate Chopin. (2021, January 25). GradesFixer. Retrieved March 29, 2023, from
“The Use Of Setting In The Story Of An Hour By Kate Chopin.” GradesFixer, 25 Jan. 2021,
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