In "The Story of an Hour" analyze the tone of paragraph 5. How is the imagery here appropriate for her developing mood?

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mrs-campbell eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Mrs. Mallard, unlike the expected reaction that a grieving widow would have, is later elated.  She feels "Free, free!" for the first time since she married.  This reaction, unconventional for her time, and the mindset of most people of Chopin's time period, is foreshadowed in the story, in paragraph 5.  In a typical story of grief and loss, the author would have Mrs. Mallard look outside and see rain, stormy clouds, thunder, chaos and destruction.  But no, Mrs. Mallard, after being told her husband is dead, looks out the window at "the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life. The delicious breath of rain was in the air...The notes of a distant song which some one was singing reached her faintly, and countless sparrows were twittering in the eaves. There were patches of blue sky showing."  This sunny spring day, birds singing, blue sky, are all symbolic of Mrs. Mallard's coming feeling of freedom (blue sky through the clouds), of a new beginning ("acquiver with the new spring life"), of a free life that is just around the corner ("a distant song").

The tone and imagery of the paragraph-and following paragraphs-is happy, calm, uplifting, refreshing, like a breath of fresh air after a long winter, and all of it symbolic of Mrs. Mallard's attitude towards her husband's death.

Read the study guide:
The Story of an Hour

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