The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin

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Foreshadowing In The Story Of An Hour

Where I can find foreshadowing in "The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin?


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mrs-campbell eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Foreshadowing exists in this story in two different aspects.  The first is foreshadowing of Louise Mallard's unique and ironic reaction to the news of her husband's death. The next is foreshadowing of her unfortunate demise at the end of the story.

For foreshadowing of her feelings of joy at the news of her husband's death, look to the following instances.  The first is when Chopin describes Louise's beautiful face "whose lines bespoke repression." Chopin mentions that her face reflected "repression"; so, the woman felt repressed in her role as a wife--indicating that she might not be sad to be relieved of that role.  Then, as Louise looks out the window after hearing of the tragedy of her husband's death, she sees

"the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life. The delicious breath of rain was in the air. ...and countless sparrows were twittering in the eaves."

One would expect a stormy sky, lightning and thunder, but Chopin uses the setting to foreshadow the freedom that Louise feels at her husband's death; her emotions, like the weather, are sunny, happy, and full of promise and new life, foreshadowing her coming elation.  As she continues to think about her husband, Chopin writes that Louise could sense a feeling coming and "was waiting for it, fearfully. What was it?" This foreshadows the feeling of elation that she will feel at her husband's death; a fearful emotion because of how inappropriate it is, yet how wonderful freedom feels to her.  From here on out, the theme is obvious as Louise basks in feeling "Free!  Body and soul free!"

For foreshadowing of her death at the end, look to the beginning where Richards and her sister were afraid to tell her of the death of Brently, because she had heart troubles.  If they were worried about her heart acting up at the news of his death, it makes sense that it would act up when he unexpectedly arrives.

I hope that those examples help; good luck!

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