Is any symbolism seen in this work of chopin? How is the title a symbol?

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cybil eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Chopin's work encompasses the brief story of an hour of life, an hour of freedom, for Louise Mallard. When she is informed that her husband has been killed in a train accident, she retires to her room to grieve. There she sits in front of an open window where she can see the open square in front of her house below. The trees were "all aquiver with the new spring life. The delicious breath of rain was in the air." These details to openness and spring represent Louise's having the chance to escape from the constraints of marriage. She says quietly, "Free, free, free!" Yet she admits that she "had loved him--sometimes." Her reaction to his death, then, has been both grief and relief; now she looks forward to life on her own as she drinks in "a very elixir of life through that open window." Ironically, the story of her hour takes a dramatic turn when the front door opens, and her husband appears. Her weak heart cannot take the shock, and she dies; therefore, she truly had only an hour to enjoy her freedom.

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The Story of an Hour

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