The Story of an Hour

This study guide will help you analyze the text “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin. We will show you examples of elements in the text that will be relevant for your analysis. In these notes, we will focus on plot and structure, characterization, themes, and the historic context of women's suffrage. 

Presentation of the text

Title: “The Story of an Hour”
Author: Kate Chopin
Genre: Short story
Year of Publication: 1894

Kate Chopin was an American writer whose literary works did not enjoy much success during her lifetime because her views on women were quite feminist and ahead of her time. She was married to Oscar Chopin and had six children with him before he died. Considering “The Story of an Hour” was written after the death of her husband, it is likely that this real life event had inspired her to write this short story.


Below, you can read an excerpt from our study guide:

Composition and narrative techniques

The author uses different narrative techniques to attract the readers:

Stream of consciousness. The narrator presents the thought- flow of the main character, Louise, while in her room: “She knew that she would weep again when she saw the kind, tender hands folded in death; the face that had never looked save with love upon her, fixed and gray and dead”.

Imagery and sensory details, mainly used when the setting is described, help the reader enter the story mood: “She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life”.

Foreshadowing. The beginning suggest that things might not be as they appear. Richards never investigated in depth the death of Mr. Mallard: “He had only taken the time to assure himself of its truth by a second telegram, and had hastened to forestall any less careful, less tender friend in bearing the sad message”.

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The Story of an Hour

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