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The Story of an Hour

by Kate Chopin

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What literary devices are used in "The Story of an Hour"?

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Chopin primarily uses stark, simple prose to tell her story. Some of her literary devices, however, are as follows:

Alliteration: In this literary device, two or more words that begin with the same consonant are placed close together. Chopin writes: "She wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment." The alliterative "w" in "wept" and "wild" creates a sense of rhythm and puts emphasis on the words wept and wild.

Imagery: Imagery is description that uses any of the five senses: sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. In the following passage, we can visualize what Louise sees, smells, and hears:

She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life. The delicious breath of rain was in the air. In the street below a peddler was crying his wares. The notes of a distant song which some one was singing reached her faintly, and countless sparrows were twittering in the eaves.

Simile: Simile compares two items using the words like or as. Chopin likens Louise's will to her hands in the following: "she was striving to beat it back with her will—as powerless as her two white slender hands would have been."

Repetition: Chopin only needed to use the word free once, but the repetition emphasizes the importance of freedom to Louise: "free, free, free!"

Dialogue: Chopin primarily narrates what happens, but the brief dialogue puts us in the scene and adds dramatic intensity to the story, as in the quote below:

Josephine was kneeling before the closed door with her lips to the keyhole, imploring for admission. "Louise, open the door! I beg; open the door—you will make yourself ill. What are you doing, Louise? For heaven's sake open the door."

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