"The Story of an Hour" is built around the "expression of a woman's shockingly unorthodox feelings about her marriage''; so says Bert Bender, in an essay devoted to Chopin's short fiction. Similarly, Per Seyersted calls the story "an extreme example of the theme of self-assertion." Although both critics display considerable perception and insight, neither adequately accounts for the actual effect of the story. As we move through this short story, one element in our experience certainly points to self-assertion, encouraging us to hope for it in ourselves and Louise Mallard both. But the...
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