illustration of a woman in a dress standing as if she were in shock

The Story of an Hour

by Kate Chopin

Start Free Trial

The overall tone of the short story "The Story of an Hour" can best be described as which of the following?: A. Tender and appreciative; B. Resigned and bitter; C. Selfish and derisive; D. Hopeful and confident; or E. Severe and mocking.

The tone of the short story "The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin is hopeful and confident. Before she dies of a heart attack, Louise Mallard has realized that she is free from the oppressive grip of her husband and can look forward to a bright, independent future. The tragedy of her death at the end does not diminish this overall triumphant tone.

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The tone of the short story "The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin is set by the attitude of the main character, Louise Mallard, towards the supposed death of her husband. To be able to answer this question, you need to trace this attitude to its conclusion.

At the beginning of the story, Mrs. Mallard finds out from her sister Josephine that her husband has been killed in a train accident. She sheds some obligatory tears but then goes to her room to think things over. As she gazes out of her window at a lovely spring day, it comes to her that she is finally free from the oppression of her husband. He was not cruel to her, and he possibly even loved her, but he was oppressive in their marriage relationship in the way that people of his gender were commonly oppressive during that era. Louise is glad to be free of him and happy that she can live out her life alone and unfettered. That she dies of a heart attack at the end when she finds out he is alive does not diminish the tone of her overall victory.

Now we can look at the options that you have presented in your question. As mentioned above, the tone of the passage has to do with Louise's ultimate attitude. It is not A, tender and appreciative, because this implies she was content with her role with her husband in their marriage, but she was not. It is not B, resigned and bitter, because she does not become bitter but joyful. It is not C, selfish and derisive, because she thinks kind thoughts about her husband even as she is glad to be free of him. It is not E, severe and mocking, also because she does not bear her husband ill will. The correct answer is D, hopeful and confident, because when she hears the news about her husband's death, she does not become despondent or despairing, but instead looks forward with confidence and hope to a brighter future.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team