How do I write a 2 page essay on the following thesis: Kate Chopin's "The Story Of An Hour" explains the nature (features) of false enlightenment" concerning freedom/independence and the...

How do I write a 2 page essay on the following thesis:

Kate Chopin's "The Story Of An Hour" explains the nature (features) of false enlightenment"

concerning freedom/independence and the consequences of inaccurate/idealistic perspectives.

(What four strong points can I argue on for each paragraph, and how would I start the introduction?) 

Expert Answers
mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Kate Chopin's short short story is a tightly-woven tale of how one brief hour can alter a person's life. Perhaps, then, using Bailey and Powell's The Practical Writer as a guide [see the link below], which outlines an essay, an introductory paragraph for this essay will contain a Motivator, or hook, which could give reflection to the magnified effect a mere blip of time can have upon a person's life, and from there state the thesis with the blueprint, which is a "short list of the main points the writer will present in the essay."

1. Introductory paragraph

  • Motivator -A reflection on the magnified effect a mere blip of time can have upon a person's life
  • Thesis - Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour" illuminates the nature of false enlightenment"
  • Blueprint -[this follows the general statement of the thesis] ...enlightenment as Mrs. Mallard moves from grief and repression to abandonment and exhilaration to self-assertion, and finally devastation. (Always use the same parts of speech or the same type of phrasing for each point of the blueprint because using such parallel constructions helps your reader follow your points more easily.)

--Here are some suggestions on writing the essay:

2. What to discuss in the first body paragraph - This paragraph can examine Mrs. Mallard's expression of grief and repression. In the exposition of the story, it becomes apparent that Mrs. Mallard is discontent: she has "a heart trouble"--not a heart condition--and great care is given to breaking the "sad message" to her. Mrs. Mallard moves in a world of delicate and illusionary words that disguise her repressive life. In her effort, then, to break from this repression, "She would have no one follow her" up the stairs to her room.

3. What to discuss in the second body paragraph - This paragraph should examine the transition from repression to Mrs. Mallard's epiphany. Examining the open window that assumes significance when placed in the perspective of freedom is important here: She can see the tree tops in a distance [future] and there is the "delicious breath of rain" [new life comes after a rain]; further she hears "the notes of a distant song"--all her senses deadened by repression are awakened and stirred by the elation of the revival of a hope for freedom. 

4. What to discuss in the third body paragraph - Bolstered by these new and exhilarating suggestions of a renewal of an authentic life, Louise Mallard [notice that "Mrs." changes to "Louise"] experiences an abandonment of all that has burdened her heart. Now, she drinks in "a very elixir of life through that open window" [she is no longer spiritually captive] and her "fancy was running riot along those days ahead of her" and she prays for a long life. 

NB: It is here that the story reaches its climax and it is here that the heart of the thesis begins to be proven; for, with her "fancy...running riot" Louise Mallard has become too elated, too idealistic--"she carried herself unwittingly [key word!] like a goddess of Victory [a grandiose idea]." 

5. What to discuss in the fourth body paragraph - Finish the proof of the thesis by explaining the devastation to her very soul and heart that follows Louise's idealistic perspectives (and inaccurate since her husband has not died). Filled with a victorious spirit lighted by her hope for freedom, Louise Mallard finds this metaphoric light blocked by the presence of Brently Mallard, "a little travel-stained composedly [still in charge] his gripsack and umbrella. The shock of seeing him, knowing that all her dreams and hopes have been dashed, causes Mrs. Mallard to die of a "joy that kills." For, the devastating loss of her joyous hope causes her despairing heart to stop.

6. The conclusion is, of course, merely a rewording of the thesis, a sort of "wrapping up" of the main points. Bailey and Powell also suggest that the writer finish the essay with what they call a "clincher"; that is, a final sentence or two that leaves little doubt that the essay is concluded. Perhaps, something could be written again about how one can, indeed, partake of a lifetime in an hour, or how Mrs. Mallard's life lent her an ethereal story, if only for an hour. 

Read the study guide:
The Story of an Hour

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