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.

davmor1973 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The imagery contained in paragraph five of "The Story of an Hour" perfectly mirrors how Louise is feeling at this precise moment. In the open square outside, spring has sprung into life. The sight of fresh spring rain and the joyous twittering of the sparrows in the trees are supplemented by the insistent sound of the peddler hawking his wares. The world outside is truly alive. This is just how Louise feels inside. What she believes to be her husband's death has given her a new lease on life, bringing with it a touch of springtime and the promise of freedom and self-fulfillment that springtime entails. The tone is one of hope and optimism. Just as the ravages of winter yield to the verdant, luscious joys of spring, so Louise believes that the end of her marriage has given way to a life of independence and freedom.

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The Story of an Hour

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