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Synopsis and Analysis of “Story of an Hour”


The “Story of an hour” revolves around the perceived death of Brently and its effects. News emerge that Brently is dead, from a railroad accident and care is taken in revealing the sad news to his wife, Louise. Louise, her sister Josephine, and Brently’s friend, Richard, are in the scene in Brently’s house. Richard delivers the news to Josephine who then narrates it to her sister. He had learned of the sad information from the newspaper center. Upon hearing the story, Louise begins to sob before heading to her room on the upper floor of the house. On reaching the room, she locks herself in and opens a window that exposes her to the environment outside her house and she interacts with different activities in the environment. She notes trees outside her house and perceives an impending rain. She also hears people from outside her upper room; a peddler and a singer. Voices of singing birds and sight of clouds also reach her. Even though she is still sobbing, she perceives her beauty and cannot manage to suppress the feeling of freedom and joy that she has derived from the death of her husband. She acknowledges the fact that she will mourn at the sight of her dead husband’s body, she associates her relationship with her, and by extension relationships between men and women, with oppression from which she will now be free. She also acknowledges having occasionally loved her husband. Her sister then comes and pleads with her to open the door, reminding her of her health. Louise declines but eventually opens the door. As they approach Richard, Brently gets in from the front door, Josephine screams, and Richard tries to block him from Louise’s view but does not succeed. Louise collapses and is confirmed dead by doctors who attribute her death to a heart attack (Chopin, In Cheuse, 2007).

Chopin, K. The story of an hour, In Cheuse, A. (2007). Seeing ourselves: Great stories of America’s past. Bedford, MA: Applewood Books.

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