The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin

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The setting of Chopin's story is very limited; it is confined largely to a room, a staircase, and a front door. How does this limitation help to express the themes of the story? (And what theme or...

  • The setting of Chopin's story is very limited; it is confined largely to a room, a staircase, and a front door. How does this limitation help to express the themes of the story? (And what theme or themes do you see?
  • What kind of relationships do the Mallards have? Is Brently Mallard unkind to Louise Mallard, or is there some other reason for her saying "free, free, free!" when she hears of his death? How does she feel about him?
  • What view of marriage does the story present? The story was published in 1894; does it only represent attitudes toward marriage in the nineteenth century, or could it equally apply to attitudes about marriage today?

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Jonathan Beutlich, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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This post is asking three separate questions; however, questions 1 and 2 are closely related, and an answer can be woven together in order to answer both of them.

The first question asks about a possible relationship that exists between the setting and a particular theme. The theme that I recommend exploring for this answer is that of freedom and confinement. I would agree with the suggestion that the story's setting provides thematic evidence. In terms of setting only, the story is a very confined. Mrs. Mallard simply doesn't move to a wide range of locations—she stays confined to the interior of the...

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