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Homework: The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin

Updated on June 19, 2013

This is a homework I did for the class I took, which is English 126 at GRCC

The Story of An Hour (1894)

The Story of an Hour is a short story by Kate Chopin. This story is widely anthologized and one of her best-known works. Vogue magazine first published in December, 1894, under the title "The Dream of an Hour."


Reading and Reacting

1. The story's basic exposition is presented in its first two paragraphs. What additional information about character or setting would you like to know? Why do you suppose Chopin does not supply this information?

I would like to know why Mrs. Mallard suffered from a heart condition and how bad it was because she suddenly died at the end of the story. I also would like to know how she got married to her husband and how the marriage went on. I suppose Chopin does not supply any other information except what she had in the first two paragraphs of the story because she wants readers not to have any prejudice about other characters especially Mr. Mallard who is an antagonist in this story even though there is no main conflict between a protagonist, Mrs. Mallard and an antagonist, Mr. Mallard.

2. "The Story of an Hour" is a very economical story, with little action or dialogue. Do you see this economy as a strength or a weakness? Explain.

I think being an economical story could be either a strength or a weakness but in this story I believe it is a strength. "The Story of an Hour" is a short, complex story that moves quickly. The events in the story take place in a single day and in a single location as part of a single story line with no subplots. The readers would be able to get a clear picture of what Mrs. Mallard's life was like without using a lot of action or dialogue. However, the writer used dialogue where she wanted to emphasize her points such as "free" so the reader could understand Mrs. Mallard's inner conflicts better.

3. When "The Story of an Hour" was first published in Vogue magazine in 1894, the magazine's editors titled it " The Dream of an Hour." A film version, echoing the last words of the story, is called The Joy That Kills. Which of the three titles do you believe most accurately represents what happens in the story? Why?

I believe " The Dream of an Hour" represents accurately what happens in the story. Even though there is no clue that all events are happening in an hour, the readers can guess that the events are happening in an hour because of the title. Readers can see Mrs. Mallard's inner conflicts. The one is sadness that her husband was dead suddenly by the train disaster and the other is happiness that she would be free. It seems that Mrs. Mallard had a longing to be free for a long time, and finally the moment came. However, her husband appeared suddenly and her dream was vanished and she died.

4. Do you think Brently Mallard physically abused his wife? Did he love her? Did she love him? Exactly why was she so relieved to be rid of him? Can you answer any of these questions with certainty?

I do not think that Brently Mallard physically abused his wife and he did love her but I think the way he loved her was not the way she wanted. "She would live for herself (10)" indicates that she has existed for her husband, and lived a suppressed life. She loved her husband too but she thought that "men and women have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow creature (10)" and that her husband's love is same to love toward possessions.


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