Show how Chopin uses imagery and descriptive detail to contrast the rich possibilities for which Mrs. Mallard (in The Story of an Hour) yearns, given the drab reality of her everyday life.

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literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Kate Chopin, in her short story The Story of an Hour, uses wonderful imagery and descriptive details in order to contrast Mrs. Mallard's mundane and drab life.

Chopin offers readers a glimpse of how Mrs. Mallard's life is with her husband, Brently. Details of her life are inferred through her inclusion of the following words: broken, veiled, concealing, paralyzed, abandonment, haunted, and grief.

After Mrs. Mallard comes to terms with her husband's death, she beings to notice the good things in life, the things which she has failed to notice to this point. Mrs. Mallard sees the "new spring life," the "delicious breath of rain," and "patches of blue sky."

Therefore, the oppressiveness of her life with Brently Mallard is over, as a result of his death. Instead, Mrs. Mallard is able to see the new life, the calm after the storm, that she will be able to indulge in. The imagery used alludes to spring and the fact that spring brings about new life.

msgale eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Chopin uses descriptive and sensory imagery to show the sense of freedom Mrs. Mallard feels almost coming out of the patch of blue sky beyond her window.  She can see and hear things she hasn't noticed before, like the spring green coming into the trees (another symbol of new hope and rebirth), birds twittering outside (birds are also symbols of hope), and people singing in the streets.  While she was with her husband, she had to constantly focus her attention on him.  It highlights how oppressive her married life was in contrast to the possibility of freedom now in front of her as a widow.

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The Story of an Hour

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