What details of the story are especially significant?Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour"

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In this compact narrative, Kate Chopin skillfully and meaningfully makes use of many pregnant details. For instance, it is interesting how the initial reference to Mrs. Mallard changes to "she" after the woman is informed of the death of Mr. Bentley Mallard.  Thus, the focus of characterization switches to the feminine aspect in contrast to the Victorian setting of femme covert in which a woman/wife called "Mrs. Mallard" is subservient to her husband.  And, as "she" looks out her window, realizing that Spring approaches, a season that parallels her own burgeoning feelings of independence, the emergence of "Louise," the individual occurs in contrast to the former "Mrs. Mallard" as her sister Josephine calls to her outside the bedroom door.

Also, while "she" is in the bedroom emerging as an independent individual, there are such adjectives used as "acquiver," "delicious" "twittering," "approaching"; these details suggest the spiritual awakening, the "monstrous joy," of the main character as she realizes her new-found freedom.   However, as the detail of "monstrous" suggests, the dream of freedom is short-lived for Louise as her "feverish triumph" turns to a fatal defeat with the return of Brentley Drummle and "she" changes to "his wife" in the third-to-the-last line. Certainly, Kate Chopin's "A Story of an Hour" utilizes details most significantly.

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The Story of an Hour

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