Research Essay on “The Story of an Hour”

Research Essay on “The Story of an Hour”
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“The Story of an Hour”” The Story of an Hour depicts a tragedy that stems from an interpersonal conflict between a wife and a husband. From the feel of the story it appears that Mrs. Millard and her husband had very little in common and yet either out of fear of separating from her husband or some other ambiguous reason the couple never sought to talk about their relationship.

The Story begins with Mrs. Millard’s sister Josephine trying to find out a way to break the news of her husband’s accidental death to her. The response expected by Josephine was that her sister would be shattered by the news, just as common sense dictates. It is only when she retires to her room that the reader realizes the state of the mixed emotions of Mrs. Millard, as she feels both joy and sorrow at the death of her husband. One can infer that she had not been treated well by her husband because trivial misunderstandings do not cause one to rejoice in someone’s death. For the death of a person to cause someone such bliss the reason must be substantial. Later on when Mrs. Millard finds out that her husband was actually alive, she is unable to stomach the news and instantly passes away. The plot of the story is very engaging, it relates to the reader on some frequency.

The mood of the story is not the ordinary way in which the story of someone’s death is told, that is the tone of the story sways from sorrow to joy and back again to sorrow. A particular point of interest in the story was when Mrs. Millar retires into her room and confides in nature as opposed to her sister (Chopin, 40). I feel this shows us the conflict between human beings and the social stigmas that exist in the society due to which even though Mrs. Millard felt plagued by her husband she still could not share her happiness over the much anticipated freedom which she finally could see coming. At that point it is revealed to the reader that Mrs. Millard is actually happy about her husband’s death which turns the entire perspective from which the reader perceives the story till that point. Later in the story Mrs. Millard’s sister tries to get her out of her room thinking that she will fall sick alone, at that point Chopin makes use of dramatic irony because the fact that Mrs. Millard is happy is known to the reader but not to the character of Mrs. Millard’s sister (Prentice Hall, 47).

There has been extensive use of imagery in the story, particularly when Mrs. Millard is sitting by the window and certain elements of nature are described. “But she felt it, creeping out of the sky, reaching toward her through the sounds, the scents, the color that filled the air,” (Chopin, 41) in these lines Chopin makes use of imagery to imply the freedom which Mrs. Millard feels at the death of her husband, or just the news rather. Some critics believe that the story of an hour is the story of a woman’s self assertion, instead of taking Mrs. Millard’s predicament as an emotional one the critics take it to be one of egoism, (Wang, 108) which is a matter of perspective.

The Story of an Hour is an impactful story because the end is unexpected and goes to an extreme (death of Mrs. Millard) to highlight the fact that our behavior with someone can be a cause such grief to someone that it might even take away their life. It is the sort or novel that leaves a lot of food for thought for the reader.

Works Cited
Chopin, Kate. “Short Stories for Students: The Story of an Hour.” Farmington Hills, Michigan: The Gale Group , (July 23, 2002). Web. December, 8, 2011.
Prentice Hall.” Literature: Timeless Voices, Timeless Themes.” Illinois: Prentice Hall, 2008. Web. December, 8, 2011.
Wang, Xuding. “Feminine Self-Assertion in “The Story of an Hour”.” English Department, Tamkang University. December 2008: 107 – 120. Web. December, 8, 2011.