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The Story of an Hour

by Kate Chopin

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What could be an effective conclusion for an essay on "The Story of an Hour"?

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Without knowing exactly what your original essay is about, it is very tough to outline out a "great conclusion" for your essay. Conclusions are tough to write. You want to remind your reader about your initial thesis argument and the support that you offered; however, you don't want to be overly repetitive, nor do you want to copy and paste your original thesis into the conclusion. You have to remind your reader without repeating. Another critical component of a solid conclusion is to not bring up new information (this is something that is commonly done by students). Do not bring up new evidence or new arguments in the conclusion. If it is important enough to be in the conclusion, then it should have been discussed in the body of the essay. If it wasn't discussed earlier, leave it out. Finally, a good conclusion should steer the reader into some kind of action or give a final push to agree with the initial thesis argument.

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One potential conclusion would be to discuss the final irony of the story: that the doctors who examined Mrs. Mallard's body declared that she "had died of heart disease—of the joy that kills." It was not, after all, joy at seeing her husband alive that caused her heart attack; it was, more likely, her extreme and painful disappointment at realizing the freedom his death offered her was only a dream and not her new reality. The doctors get it wrong, failing to understand Mrs. Mallard's position of relative powerlessness—the relative powerlessness of all married women in the Victorian era due to the laws of the time—and how that might have put a strain on her, perhaps even causing her "heart trouble" in the first place.

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