The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin

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In "The Story of an Hour", Mrs. Mallard closes the door to her room so that Josephine cannot get in, yet she leaves the window open. Why does Chopin make a point of telling the reader this? How might...

In "The Story of an Hour", Mrs. Mallard closes the door to her room so that Josephine cannot get in, yet she leaves the window open. Why does Chopin make a point of telling the reader this? How might this relate to the idea of being "free" and to the implicit idea that she is somehow imprisoned?

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Erin DuBuque eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The short story "The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin tells of a young woman who hears from her sister Josephine that her husband has just been killed in a railroad disaster. Her immediate reaction is to weep, and then she goes up to her room alone.

Closing the door is symbolic of shutting out her old life. Sitting down in the armchair facing the open window represents her openness to the possibility of a new life. She does not immediately recognize this possibility, however. What lies beyond the open window beckons to her and reminds her of the freedom that in her marital bond she has all but forgotten. She views the treetops vibrant with the life of spring and patches of blue sky with clouds. She feels a hint of rain in the air. She hears the cry of a peddler, someone singing, and birds twittering. All of these sensations are reminders that awaken the urge for freedom within her.

Only at this point does she understand how her husband, with his "powerful will bending hers" subjugated and...

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