The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin

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What lessons can be learned from "The Story Of An Hour"?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I agree.  I also think that one of the things you learn from this story is that you need to live your own life.  I think this is why Louise only lives for an hour.  

Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with a heart trouble, great care was taken to break to her as gently as possible the news of her husband's death.

They are worried that she will die of grief, when in fact it may be more accurate to say she dies of joy.  It amounts to the same thing, though, because she is still dead!  Life is short.  She lived that entire time in the loveless marriage because that is what people are expected to do.  That is what women are expected to do, specifically, especially at the time of the story in the late 1800's.

By emphasizing that all of the events of the story take place in only an hour, Chopin is telling us that everything can be taken from us at any time.  Louise goes through a whirlwind of emotions during that time.  She goes from grief to joy to relief.  She gets to be relieved for so little time before she is dead.  

When she first experiences joy, she does not even know what it is.  She is a good person, and good people are not happy when their husbands die.

She did not stop to ask if it were or were not a monstrous joy that held her. ... But she saw beyond that bitter moment a long procession of years to come that would belong to her absolutely. And she opened and spread her arms out to them in welcome.

Louise understands that the difficulties of her marriage are now behind her, and she can go on with her life.  Unfortunately, this does not happen for her.  Sometimes lives are cut short in the happiest moments.  By ending Louise's life here, the author is sending a message to us to live our lives to the fullest, and not allow ourselves to be trapped.   When a situation is not working, we have to do something about it.  At lease she died happy!

Life is complex, and relationships are complex.  None are more complex than marriage.  You should not give up on something without giving it a fighting chance, for sure.  However, you certainly should not waste your life either.  I believe the author's message is that you need to control your own destiny.

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William Delaney eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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write5,416 answers

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One lesson that everybody can and should learn from Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour " is that marriage is a very complicated relationship. Many young couples start off thinking that they will stay in love forever. But it seldom, if ever, works out that way. In fact, there is nothing in life that is perfect. Everything changes. Mrs. Mallard evidently loves her husband, but marriage has required her to put up with a lot of things she hardly even knew she resented. When she hears the news that her husband...

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