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The Story of an Hour

by Kate Chopin
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From what perspective is "The Story of an Hour" told?

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Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” combines the perspective of the third-person omniscient narrator with that of Mrs. Mallard. The story teller is an outside narrator who shares the story of Mrs. Mallard as she is informed of her husband’s death. The narrator describes the young woman’s initial grief and comments on her intelligence and strength, while also indicating that she has been repressed in her life.

Then, although the story continues in third person, the perspective shifts to Mrs. Mallard’s. The narrator describes her realization that she is “Free! Body and soul free!” The young woman recognizes that although she had loved her husband, all she had done was live for him and give in to his will. She considers the many years ahead of her during which she can enjoy her life and live for herself. At this point of realization, the narrator makes a point of calling her Louise, instead of Mrs. Mallard, as acknowledgement of her new independence.

Still continuing Louise’s point of view through the third person narrator, Louise assures her worried sister that she is alright. As she walks down the stairs toward the opening front door through which Mr. Mallard walks, the perspective shifts back to the third person narrator. Louise dies of “joy that kills” as she sees her husband is indeed alive. The narrator explains that the doctor believes she had a heart attack, presumably from being shocked with happiness that her husband is alive. But the readers know the truth. She dies of a heart attack from the shock of losing the freedom she had so desperately needed and was on the threshold of obtaining.

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