Kate Chopin was a feminist who had specific views about gender and social class, certainly inspired by time she spent in Louisiana. Although race does not figure into "The Story of an Hour," it does in other works, such as "Desiree's Baby."
Gender and social class, however, figure prominently in "The Story of an Hour." Through Louise Mallard, Chopin's view that marriage could be a prison, especially for women, is evident. The story also suggests the infantilization of women by men. In the opening scene, a male friend of Brently Mallard is dispatched to the Mallard home to stand by as Louise's sister breaks the news of Brently's death. His presence is unnecessary, but he is there, nonetheless, and again attempts to protect Louise from shock when Brently returns at the story's end.
In her hour of solitude, Louise reflects on the oppressiveness of her marriage and what her widowhood will mean for her:
There would be no one to live for her during those coming years; she would live for herself. There would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature. A kind intention or a cruel intention made the act seem no less a crime as she looked upon it in that brief moment of illumination.
Although she concedes that her husband had a "face that had never looked save with love upon her," she acknowledges that his love did not balance the obvious repression he also inflicted by "bending" her will to his. With Brently Mallard dead, Louise realizes that she will be "Free! Body and soul free!"
In terms of Chopin's view of social class, the evidence in the story is more subtle. Neither Josephine nor Louise are employed outside the home. Brently Mallard is the provider, and he commutes to work by rail. When he returns, he is carrying "a grip sack and umbrella," suggestive of the kind of clothing that businessmen, not laborers, wear. The house is a two-story, and Louise has a room with a view and a soft armchair, suggesting that the Mallards live comfortably.