The Story of an Hour

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“The Story of an Hour”

By Kate Chopin

  • Who is Kate Chopin (1850-1904)?

  • a forgotten American voice until her literary reputation was resuscitated by critics in the 1950s.

  • a good example of an American realist, someone trying to represent life the way it actually is lived

  • Author of The Awakening (1899) the story of a sensual, determined woman who insists on her independence

  • Born Katherine O'FIaherty into an upper-middle-class family in St. Louis, she married Oscar Chopin when she was twenty and moved to her husband's home in Louisiana.

  • Financially secure, she began writing fiction as best she could while rearing her children.

  • Chopin’s works

  • The background of “The Story of an Hour”

    • Most of her fiction is set in Louisiana and most of her best-known work focuses on the lives of sensitive, intelligent women.
    • Her short stories were well received in her own time and were published by some of America's most prestigious magazines

    • Her early novel At Fault (1890) had not been much noticed by the public, but The Awakening (1899) was widely condemned.

  • Characters

    • Louise Mallard (Mrs. Mallard)

    • Brently Mallard (Mr. Mallard)

    • Josephine: Mrs. Mallard's sister.

    • Richards: Brently Mallard's friend.

  • Study questions

    • What is important about the title?

    • What are the conflicts in "The Story of an Hour"? What types of conflict (physical, moral, intellectual, or emotional) do you see in this story?

    • Why is the story usually considered a work of feminist literature?

  • A Feminist approach to “The Story of an Hour”

  • Presenting the issues of feminism

  • female oppression in 19th century society and more specifically in marriages of the time.

    • A woman’s dissatisfaction in a conventional marriage and her desire for independence

    • The early goals of feminism

    • Self-determination, self-consciousness

  • Other techniques used in the story

    • Irony

    • ambiguity

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