Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour" was published in 1884 and is one of the richest demonstrations of a compressed narrative that also exhibits a broad range of literary devices, with foreshadowing, symbolism, figurative language, metaphor, and irony being chief among them—in short, a tour de force of short story writing.
Foreshadowing, which helps prepare the reader for subsequent events, frames the story's opening lines:
Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with heart trouble, great care was taken to break to her as gently as possible the news of her husband's death.
Chopin skillfully establishes that Mrs. Mallard has a serious medical condition and, by implication, that she lives among refined people who care for her. Mrs. Mallard's condition also implies that her heart condition dictates that she not only must be treated gently but also that she is gentle herself, and the reader does not suspect the possibility of the emotional fireworks that overwhelm Mrs. Mallard later on.
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