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The Story of an Hour: Questions & Answers


How does the writing show the passage of time in the Story of an Hour?
In The Story of an Hour, Kate Chopin makes use of the transition of time to show the emotion of the character Mrs. Mallard. The story starts off calmly with her sister trying hard not to surprise her with the news and the flow of time is normal. Then it described her wild abandonment crying when the news was finally delivered to her. She goes to her room and immediately she was deep in thought of her life up ahead. This contemplation seemed to be suspended in time where she is able to notice every small detail around her. Her moment alone was cut when her sister takes her down the stairs. Then the progression returned to the normal passage of time until she sees her husband and she dies.

What about the author’s style and word choices displays the emotions of the main character?
The author made use of the season and the environment to show the emotion of Mrs. Mallard. “She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life. The delicious breath of rain was in the air” (Chopin para.5). The coming of spring is analogous to her life because she will be starting anew again without her husband there to control her. There was also the twittering of the birds singing as though in harmony with her happiness.

Is she actually grieving, or is the woman conflicted about her feelings? What evidence can you find to prove your point?
She is feeling a little conflicted with the events as they unfold but generally, she is glad about the news of her husband’s death. The passage that shows this conflict is written, “There were patches of blue sky showing here and there through the clouds that had met and piled one above the other in the west facing her window” (Chopin para.6). The sky is described to be gloomy but the indication of blue sky in patches shows that things will eventually be good like the weather.

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