Analyze the use of imagery in Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour.”
During the nineteenth century independence was a forbidden pleasure for women. “The Story of an Hour” written by Kate Chopin explores the captivity felt by a woman that belonges to a man through marriage. Chopin uses special forms of imagery, which imply the psychological strains of someone who is underrated by social expectations. She shows the gradual transformation from a grieving wife to a woman that feels finally free using literary techniques in the structure and style of this short story, as well as using different themes of imagery.
To begin with, Kate Chopin uses a specific structure to enhance the drama of the story. The story is short, made up of short paragraphs, many which consist of just a few sentences. The story is only one hour in Louise Mallard’s life, from the moment that she’s aware of her husband’s death to the moment he unexpectedly returns. The short structure makes the intense hour more dramatic, Kate Chopin focuses on putting all the attention of the story when Louise is finally independent. Just as when Louise engages in her wild thoughts of the moment, we are involved in them with her. This story is very short, but the impact it makes is very powerful. When Louise murmurs “free” to herself, we are surprised by her reaction and we can now understand her pain. Kate Chopin ends all this dense drama when Louise dies because of Brently’s unexpected return. Her heart trouble mentioned at the beginning of the story is foreshadowing her death at the end. This short story leaves no room for background information, which is why we are so focused on her dense thoughts of being free.
Kate Chopin makes every sentence important by using a different style technique. She uses a poetic writing style and a lot of repetition that enhance important moments. Chopin’s writing style is kind of a tease, she forces us to fill in the blanks. She doesn’t reveal everything about the story, which leaves place for imagination. Kate creates a mysterious atmosphere at the end of the story when she does not describe her death or even the reason of. The fact that at the most shocking moment of her life, nobody knows what Mrs. Mallard feels makes the story much more shocking. Chopin leaves us curious, which makes the readers want to analyze and reread part of the story. Finally, Kate Chopin makes the story unbelievable by using alliteration and internal rhymes. For example, Josephine “revealed in half concealing” when she tells Louise the news, and Brently reappears “composedly carrying” his belongings. Chopin’s structural and stylistic techniques make this short story very powerful that leave us with many thoughts.
The themes and symbols of this story make us look back at the nineteenth century, when freedom was forbidden. When Louise hears about her husband’s death, she reacts