Synopsis of The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin

About The Author Kate Chopin

Kate Chopin (1850-1904) is an American author, who is considered to be one of the pioneers of feminist literature. Her popular novel, The Awakening is a landmark of early feminism. Her controversial thoughts and ideas have led people to call her 'Little Rebel'. Her writings focus on women's strength and potential for independence and an inner craving to attain life's passions. Woman as an independent identity, not a reflection of her male counterpart, is what the author has always tried to portray and that is exactly what is proved through her short story, 'The Story of an Hour'.

Summary of The Story of an Hour

Mrs Mallard is a young attractive woman but has a weak heart. So, when a friend brings the sad news of her husband's death in a train accident: utmost care is taken to break the news to her. The widow bursts into uncontrollable weeping and then goes to her room to be alone. To her utter shock, she becomes aware of another feeling building within her, the joy of freedom, independence and of better days to come. At first, she tries to suppress it but the emotion is so overwhelming that she is forced to accept it. Calm and composed, she comes down the stairs to face the world. And then, her supposedly dead husband comes in through the door, quite unhurt and totally unaware of the accident. The lady suffers a heart attack and dies on the spot. The doctors pronounced her dead as her heart has not been able to contain the joy at the sight of her husband, 'a joy that kills'. What the doctors didn't know was that the lady had died at the disappointment of a new and free life.


concealing - hiding:
intelligence - the gathering or distribution of information:
hastened - quicken, speed up:
forestall - stop beforehand:
the paralyzed inability - not able to grasp the situation;
abandonment – wild freedom;
aquiver - trembling:
wares - articles of merchandise or manufacture, goods:
eaves - the overhanging lower edges of a roof;
repression - suppression of feelings:
yonder - a place at a distance:
elusive - difficult to find;
tumultuously - in an agitated manner;
monstrous - wicked;
exalted perception - an under-standing above the normal level:
illumination - understanding, revelation:
imploring - begging, requesting:
elixir - divine food;
shudder - a convulsive movement of the body as from horror or fear;
importunities - demands or requests:
triumph - victory:
descend - to go or pass from a higher to a lower place, move or come down;
latchkey - a key for an outside door or gate, especially one that lifts a latch.
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