The Inside View of “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin

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Also, some of the symbols and tone will be identified along with their relevance to the theme. The theme of this story is something to the line of “The excitement of her new found freedom”. There are a few symbols that support this theme. These being spring (birth or new beginning), summer (maturity), blue (peaceful), and the open window (freedom or openness). When joined together they let the theme be known. The use of these symbols helps the reader see the whole picture of the story. The reader can then visualize him or herself inside of the story and understand the overall theme.

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For example, the open window that she looks out brings both, her and the reader to a feeling of freedom or independence. It seems apparent when she begins repeating the word “Free, Free, Free” (as cited in Clugston, 2010, section 2. 2). This only begins to show her happiness, or the joy that she is feeling and foreseeing. As stated in (Clugston, 2010, section 2. 2, Para. 8). This is evident in the way she was staring, in deep thought, out the window at a far off patch of blue sky. The symbol: The open window (freedom), looking at a patch of blue sky (peacefulness).

As cited in (Clugston, 2010). She is beginning to really envision the joy that her new found freedom and independence will bring, so vividly, that she is having those feelings now. She tries to suppress these feelings, knowing they are not of normal mind. Before she opens the door, she does put her feelings under control. The last comment the narrator makes is a paradox, it was not the joy of seeing her husband that caused her death, it was more like a sudden realization that he is alive and well.

Thus, everything that she felt or envisioned for the hour is gone. That powerful force that controls her will, is not only back, but was never even gone. The mere thought of independence is gone. This fact is what caused her untimely death. The narrator gave enough descriptive detail for the reader to envision the same images that Mrs. Mallard saw. The tight combination of several of the literary elements brings the reader into the story. The narrator, being omniscient, relays the information without any bias comments at all.

Yet, the narrator seems to hint some sympathy or compassion in the beginning paragraphs, this does however, help set the tone. The tone plays a major role in this story, it “paves the way” for the theme to be played out. It starts out by showing the concern that her sister and friend Richard have about both the shocking news of her husband’s death, and her heart problem. As said in Clugston, (2010). Then changes to happiness and joy once she goes to her room. She must have felt some guilt as she did try to suppress her joyous thoughts. The narrator did well in setting the tone and building suspense.

The tone and symbols were both necessary to paint the proper images of the theme. While analyzing this story, the theme was identified. Also, some of the symbols and the tone identified along with their relevance to the theme of the story. Here we are able to see how a narrator, first, gets a reader’s attention or curiosity. Then shapes the theme through one or more of the literary elements along with the point of view. As seen, symbols are an effective tool, as is the tone of a story to get the reader to understand the underlying theme.

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