Kate Chopin’s novel The Story of an Hour, widely regarded as a classic of short fiction, illustrates a woman’s difficult self-discovery procedures. Mrs. Mallard, the story’s key heroine, learns of her husband’s death while riding on a train. However, her immediate emotion of sorrow is replaced by an unexplained sensation. Surprisingly, she experiences a sense of liberation and delight as she anticipates a life free of her husband’s dictatorship. To better understand the author’s concept of independence in the narrative, this essay will concentrate on fiction characteristics such as settings, use of situational irony and narrator’s viewpoint.
The author’s choice of setting serves as a visual representation of the concept of independence portrayed in the narrative. Mr. Mallard is the only person who enters or exits the Mallards’ residence during the novel. There is a feeling of constriction and confinement because of it. A “pleasant, capacious armchair” is referred to by Chopin, although the reader does not know what color or size the chair is. Wallpaper and curtains are not mentioned in the setting. It creates an atmosphere of uncertainty, which leads to heightened tension and a quick resolution of the problem. When she receives the news, she locks the door to her room and sleeps. The author highlights the magnificent view outside the window, stressing that nature re-emerges in spring. For many people in this region, the arrival of spring is a sign of new life, renewal, and optimism. It depicts the protagonist’s thoughts, emotions, and sentiments once she realizes her ideals. To be more specific, the rehabilitation of the spirit and the restoration of nature work hand in hand in highlighting the significance of the change.
Use of situation irony to convey Mrs. Mallard’s reaction to receiving word of the death of her husband in Kate Chopin’s Story of an hour, is another fictional element in the novel. The author indicates that Mrs. Mallard ‘’Wept once, with sudden, wild bewilderment’’ (Chopin 1) and went upstairs to be alone in her room as anyone would do after losing a loved one. She did, however find consolation in the death of her husband as she was now going to be free- ‘’There would be no one to live for during those coming years; she would live for herself’’ (Chopin 3). The death of Mrs. Mallard is included in the novel to establish her argument that she was glad her husband was dead, and it is linked to the instance in which she discovers that her husband is still alive. Upon seeing her husband entering her room he suffered a heart attack. To her, the death of her husband would have been a godsend that arrived at the appropriate time, as she would have looked forward to her future independence.
Lastly, the fictional element deployed in this narrative is the narrator’s point of view. Chopin delves deep into the complexities of the female lead via the lens of a third-person narrator in this work, which implies she has complete access to every aspect of the story. In addition, it gives the reader a thorough introduction to Josephine and Richard, the novel’s secondary characters. She has family and friends who mirror her desire to be a free member of society, and they show that Mrs. Mallard is not alone. The narrator does not generally criticize or safeguard this woman her idea of independence. An attempt is being made to show how convoluted the author’s life is while also offering some thought-provoking material.
To sum up, Chopin’s masterpiece The Story of an Hour depicts the tumultuous emotions that Mrs. Mallard experiences throughout the narrative. As a result, the woman succumbs to an incomprehensible paradox. The fictional elements are employed in capturing Mallard’s life from the initial instance when she learns about the husband’s death to the final stance when she learns that he is still alive. The approach reveals the implications of the short, dense structure in the narration as Louise contemplates about her newly found freedom and independence after receiving the news. All of the story’s aspects work together to generate a complex, dramatic effect, and the author’s consistency in doing, this is a beautiful illustration of her consistency.
Chopin, Kate. The story of an hour. Jimcin Recordings, 1981.