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The Story of an Hour Research Papers

The Story of an Hour research papers tell of Kate Chopin’s (1851-1904) short story about a woman whose life changes radically in less than an hour of time and, in an ironic twist, it threatens to change back again. Chopin's work is required for nearly every English 101 course. The Story of an Hour is an excellent example of American Literature that can also be feminist literature. Because of its timeless message regarding the state of women at the turn of the Century, The Story of an Hour can be focused on in many different ways. Here are a few excellent topic suggestions on Chopin's work:

  1. What is the feminist message of The Story of an Hour?na
  2. Compare and contrast The Story of an Hour with another of Chopin's short stories.
  3. Examine the imagery of the story. How does it enhance the feel of the work?

The Story of an HourLouise Mallard is the protagonist who, upon hearing of the death of her husband, comes to see and feel what it would be like to be free. Freedom to her means that she is master of her own life. She imagines the long flow of years ahead of her in which she can enjoy her pure self, not encumbered with another person who believes he has the right to bend her will. This is not a woman who doesn’t love her husband, but a woman who gets only a brief, but complete glimpse of what it would be like to love herself.

Chopin uses irony to drive her point home in The Story of an Hour. She describes the awakening that takes place in Louise in little chunks. First she sees the color of the sky, a voice singing in the distance, and the twittering of birds and so much more. Her senses seem to be coming alive before even she knows what is happening to her as she transforms. She comes to her awakening progressively then, and ultimately she hears the words in her head: “Free, free, free!” Her friends and relatives naturally believe she is in dire trouble in her grief, but instead she drinks in the elixir of life. The irony comes when her very-much-alive husband walks through the door. Truth hits everyone at once. Her husband sees the look on Louisa’s face. Louise had looked into her future and saw life, and when her husband walked in, she saw in a split second that she would not live free again. She died there on the stairway. Louise chose the only freedom she found acceptable. Chopin writes that she died of the very joy that is killer.

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