The Story of an Hour

From LitWiki
“The Story of an Hour”
AuthorKate Chopin
CountryUnited States
Genre(s)Short Story
Published inVogue
Publication typeMagazine
Publication date1894

“The Story of an Hour” is a short story by Kate Chopin written on April 19, 1894. It first appeared in Vogue on December 6, 1894 as “The Dream of an Hour.” This was one of the nineteen stories of Kate Chopin published in Vogue.


Josephine, Louise Mallard's sister receives news of Brently Mallard's death at his job on the railroad and goes to tell her with assistance from Richard, Brently's friend. Josephine, knowing that her sister has a heart disease caused her to become nervous and talk in broken sentences which gave hints that revealed what happened. After finding out the news, she goes to her room and realizes that she is “free, free, free!”[1] Then, her sister encourage her to come out of the room so that she would not become ill. When she got down stairs, her husband Brently stepped through the doors. Richard tried covering him to keep Louise from being shocked but it was to late, she died of a heart disease.


Louise Mallard: She is the wife of Brently Mallard who suffers from heart disease.

Brently Mallard: A railroad worker, he is the husband to Louise Mallard, who is believed dead at the start of the story.

Josephine: She is the sister of Louise Mallard and helps console her when she informs her about Brently’s death.

Richards: He is Brently’s friend who informs Josephine about the latter’s death.

Major themes

A major theme throughout "The Story Of An Hour," is freedom. Once the hurt and grief of his loss pass over Louise, she realizes that she has the freedom to live her life the way she wants. You can see her moment of realization whenever she says, "free, free, free." She realizes that she is no longer held back by a marriage and has the freedom and independence to do as she pleases.

Another major theme of the story is death as a release. Louise's reaction to her husband's death is disheartening. However, sadness and grief gracefully turn into happiness and satisfaction. The socially acceptable way to react to death is with grief and only grief [2]. Louise doesn't pertain to this situation accordingly, the grief is no longer there.

Development history

Publication history

Explanation of the Story's Title

Louise Mallard is told her husband was dead and with that she gained her freedom. Later Louise finds out he is alive and she dies. The character gains her freedom and dies within an hour.[1]

Literary significance and reception

Awards and nominations



  1. 1.0 1.1 Chopin 2002, p. 200.
  2. Allen 2021.


See also: Annotated Bibliography.

  • Bender, Bert (1991). "The Teeth of Desire: The Awakening and The Descent of Man". American Literature. 63 (3): 459–473.
  • Berkove, Lawrence I. (2000). "Fatal Self-Assertion in Kate Chopin's 'The Story of an Hour'". American Literary Realism. 32 (2): 152–158.
  • Chongyue, Li; Lihua, Wang (May 14, 2013). "A Caricature of an Ungrateful and Unfaithful Wife—A New Interpretation of 'The Story of an Hour'". English Language and Literature Studies. 3 (2): 90–92. Retrieved 2021-08-27.
  • Chopin, Kate (2002). "The Story of an Hour". In Sipiora, Phillip (ed.). Reading and Writing about Literature. Upper Saddle Creek, NJ: Prentice Hall. pp. 199–200.
  • Cunningham, Mark (September 2004). "The Autonomous Female Self and the Death of Louise Mallard in Kate Chopin's 'Story of an Hour'". English Language Notes. 42 (1): 48–55.
  • Jamil, S. Selina (April 2009). "Emotions in 'The Story of an Hour'". The Explicator. 67 (3): 215–220.
  • Foote, J. (2013). "Speed That Kills: The Role of Technology in Kate Chopin's 'The Story of an Hour'". The Explicator. 71 (2): 85–89.
  • Toth, Emily (1999). Unveiling Kate Chopin. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi. Retrieved 2021-08-27.
  • Tseng, Chia-Chieh (Fall 2014). "'Joy That Kills': Female Jouissance in Kate Chopin's 'The Story of an Hour'". Short Story Journal. 22 (2): 29–38.
  • Yazgı, Cihan (1 October 2020). "Tragic Elements and Discourse-Time in 'The Story of an Hour'". The Explicator. 78 (3–4): 147–152.


Allen, Howard (April 2021). "Analysis, Themes and Summary of 'The Story of an Hour' by Kate Chopin".

External links