How is the setting related to the theme in "The Story of an Hour"?
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Much like Louise Mallard's own life with her husband, who has restricted her growth as a woman, the setting of Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour" also places her in a closed-in place with little room for movement. The entire setting is indoors--apart from the outside world which Louise so hopes to one day experience on her own. When she retreats to her room to consider the news about her husband, it becomes her own little world, confined once again from her friends and the outside. But it is here that she prepares herself for her new life without her husband, and looking out the window, she sees the outside world as one that she will finally get to know independently. But between her room and the outside door--an area ruled by her husband--she loses her freedom once and for all when the news of her husband's escape from death greets her.
In addition to the excellent information that you have been given about the fact that the story takes place within a single room, another element of setting that is critical to the understanding of this piece is the time frame during which the story takes place. The story is set in the late 19th century. The role of women during this time period was that of a subservient and obedient figure. The wife was to follow the wishes and demands of her husband. She was not allowed freedom to possess her own identity. Because of this, Louise Mallard is given her identity as a fragile woman with a heart condition by her male doctor husband who is assumed to know better, to be the controlling element in her life. The impact this has on the story is that when she thinks her husband is dead she experiences a brief moment during which she feels that she might be free to have her own identity for the first time in her married life.
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