The Story of an Hour

Today we will read The Story of an Hour (1894). It is written by Kate Chopin who is famous for her stories about gender and the repression of women in society.

 

Activity

Get into groups of four, discuss, formulate and write down an answer to the following questions:

  1. The setting of the story is very limited; it is confined largely to a room, a staircase, and a front door. Why would the author have chosen to do this? What is she trying to achieve by this limited setting?
  2. In what ways is the following passage significant? ”She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life. The delicious breath of rain was in the air. In the street below a peddler was crying his wares. The notes of a distant song which some one was singing reached her faintly, and countless sparrows were twittering in the eaves.” What kinds of sensory images does this passage contain, and what senses does it address? What does the vision through the open window mean to her? Where else does she taste, smell, or touch something intangible in the story?
  3. Mallard closes the door to her room so that her sister Josephine cannot get in, yet she leaves the window open. Why does Chopin make a point of telling the reader this? How might this relate to the idea of being ”free” and to the implicit idea that she is somehow imprisoned? Do other words in the story relate to this idea?
  4. Mallard is described as descending the stairs ”like a goddess of Victory.” In what ways does she feel herself victorious?
  5. What view of marriage does the story present? The story was published in 1894; does it only represent attitudes toward marriage in the nineteenth century, or could it equally apply to attitudes about marriage today?

Post as a comment.

 

Part 2

What is irony

Verbal irony

is a statement in which the meaning that a speaker employs is sharply different from the meaning that is actually expressed. The ironic statement usually involves the explicit expression of one attitude or evaluation, but with indications in the overall situation that the speaker intends a very different, and often opposite, attitude or evaluation.

Situational irony, is irony in a broader sense means that something opposite to what was expected happened.

Examples of irony in this broader sense, in the everyday deal with the opposite of the expected happening in the real world.

  • Example: A person who claims to be a vegan and avoids meat but will eat a slice of pepperoni pizza because they are hungry. It may not make sense, but it is an illustration of irony.
  • Example: A man who is a traffic cop gets his license suspended for unpaid parking tickets.
  • Example: An ambulance driver goes to a nightime bike accident scene and runs over the accident victim because the victim has crawled to the center of the road with their bike.

Cosmic irony

This type of irony can be attributed to some sort of misfortune. Usually cosmic irony is the end result of fate or chance.

  • Example: Gambling.  If you are playing blackjack chances are you will be up (making money) for awhile, and then just when you thought things were going well, you lose it all.
  • Example: The Titanic was promoted as being 100% unsinkable; but, in 1912 the ship sank on its maiden voyage.
  • Example: At a ceremony celebrating the rehabilitation of seals after the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, at an average cost of $80,000 per seal, two seals were released back into the wild only to be eaten within a minute by a killer whale.

Cosmic irony feeds on the notion that people cannot see the effects of their actions, and sometimes the outcome of a person’s actions may be out of their control.

Dramatic irony occurs when there is miscommunication in a book, play or film and the audience is smarter than the characters.

  • Example: As an audience member, you realize that if a character walks into an abandoned warehouse, chances are a killer is waiting… but because you are a member of the audience you cannot disclose the information to the character.
  • Example: In Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare Romeo finds Juliet in a drugged state and he thinks she is dead. He kills himself. When Juliet wakes up she finds Romeo dead and kills herself.
  • Example: In Macbeth by William Shakespeare Macbeth appears to be loyal to Duncan but he is planning Duncan’s murder. Duncan doesn’t know Macbeth’s plans but the audience knows what is going to happen.

Alanis Morisette – Ironic

Use the worksheet and do the analysis in the worksheet. Alanis_ironic (Worksheet) Is the song truly ironic? What kind of irony is there in the song? Why?

Post as a comment.

 

11 reaktioner till “The Story of an Hour”

  1. 1. We think that the author didn’t need to write about the environment because it wasn’t the point of the story, the authors message were meant to be that marriage for the woman is like locking her in the house and making her do all the work that you cannot do because the man are going to his work, while she dosen’t have any.

    2. While she was watching out of the window she could see and smell new things that she couldn’t do before he died.

    3. Because she still wants to feel that freedom that she felt for the quick moment, she opened the window in her room.

    4. She feels victorious for surviving a marriage a lot of other woman’s dosen’t.

    5.The view of the marriage present a way of the man owning the woman instead of two partners in love.
    In todays time marriage dosen’t look as important because of all the divorces that couldn’t happen’d before.

    Gilla

  2. 1: We believe she chose a smaller setting to the story to really emphasize how much you can pick the small details and feelings the environment around a woman gives them. Also it fits the story in the sense that it replicates how small and insignificant she feels under the pressure of her husband. The window then replicates the freedom she feels now that her ”burden” is relieved.

    2: The whole window passage in our opinion shows:
    The feeling of freedom she feels whilst she’s looking out through the window. We can see this because she she hears, smells, tastes and sees things she hadn’t seen/felt before. Example she could hear distant singing which we believe the author implies as something that has been locked away and are now distantly coming back. All of the things she sees and hears through this window replicates her opportunity, like a locked cage trapped deep in her heart. Now when this has opened she sees everything again, like being born all over again. She is sucking all of it and is slowly accepting this new reality. Different parts in the story are based on her feeling intangible things, for example her feeling the sadness of her husband death. And her feeling the destruction caused by him not being dead. The small setting relates to how she is trapped in a enclosed life.

    4: She feels newborn, she can on everything and learn everything. So many opportunities have awoken again, she feels invincible. Because she lived through the prison she had with her husband.

    5: The view of marriage, the story gives us a view that marriage is something you do it has chains around it. It doesn’t feel free, and natural to have this higher bon with someone. Instead the whole marriage gives a feeling of being restricted and limited to your significant others needs. Nowadays the thought process we just described is fairly common but the changes to how marriage is viewed and how it works has made it more of a 50 50 if a couple will get married or not. The divorce rates are extremely high now compared to before.

    Gilla

  3. 1. She wants to keep the story short and easy to read so she has to choose between describing environment or emotions of the characters. In this story she chose the latter.

    2. She realizes that life is still moving on and the death of his husband isn’t as bad as she thought.

    3. The outside feels more free and better while at the same time it feels like her sister is inprisoning her in her room. Instead of facing reality with her sister she thinks about the future and the free outside.

    4. When she understands that her life will probably be better without her husband she’s glad. She’s finally free and happy by herself and this makes her feel victorious.

    5. In the nineteenth century a marriage was very strict. A husband and wife both had their roles and you weren’t supposed to break this role. Today these roles still apply to an extent but not near enough as it used to.

    Wilmer, Alex, Aaron och Simon

    Gilla

  4. 1. A short story doesn’t need to be composed by environment explanation as the story need to be really fast paced. The author also want to show the greatness of the minds in women and not focus on the environment.

    2. It want to show you all the greatest things about nature and loneliness which she has never really experienced since first she lived with her parents then her husband AKA she feels her freedom as a human for the first time. Her mind has been dragged away from grieving to see the positive things she has never seen because of her gender. This means that she realized her role in life isn’t to be someones wife, but her own person.

    3. Often the word ”free” is associated with nature and weather , and not especially associated with freedom of doing whatever you want and that probably makes the reader feel that she has more freedom.

    4. She feels that she has beaten herself, because she thought her life was to long to live and that the goddess of Victory is the only real way to show a real win.

    5. It could certainly represt todays marriages to, but maybe not for all marriages like it was then. In 99% of the cases the women didn’t have the same rights as the men and by that more women had these types of thoughts.

    Gilla

  5. 1.I don’t think the surrounding does matter to this sitaution, i think she thought about the story and didnt care about what the surrounding was

    4/.She Thought that now when her husband died that she was free that no one could stop her from whats she wants and now she doesnt have a husband who’s telling her what she can do and what she cant do thats why she feels tha she is victorious.

    5.This view of marriage is obviously meant to nineteeth century because womans in that time wasnt as free as they are like now and the husband decided what the womans could do and what they could do and now in our century the husband isn’t allowed to deicde over their wifes life and the woman could leave her husband if she feels sad.

    Gilla

  6. 1. we think that the writer tried to compare the relationship between her and her husband with a small room. When her husband died she realized that life was bigger than that room.

    2. When she opened the window she realized at last that life is more than that room. She could finally see the vastness of the world. She saw, she felt and she heard it.

    3. We think that the reason the author decides to make a point about the window being open is to paint the picture of Mallard still being imprisoned in her room and not actually feeling free until she takes a closer look outside.

    4.she escaped her marriage and it felt rally nice

    5. The view of marriage is the nineteenth century was hard and you was not meant to brake that marriage.

    Gilla

  7. Gabriel J, Jesper K, Andreas L, Joshua L

    1. The surrounding is irrelevant in this short story which is why we think its not really specified, the story is all about her mental state and not about the surroundings

    2. We think she wants to deliver the expression and feeling of happiness. The author want you to understand the joyful feelings that the woman is having. For example, instead of describing the rain as something malicious she instead describes it as ”the delicious breath of rain”. The vision, the open window makes her feel like she is free, it makes her ecstatic and she can’t wait to do all the things she hadn’t done before while being in a marriage. Other intangible feelings she have had is physical exhaustion, which the author mentions when she relaxes in the armchair.

    3. She closes the door because she wants to be alone, yet she leaves the window open because she wants a taste of freedom, a taste of whats to come now when she isn’t married anymore. It makes her feel free since it means she has the choice to either leave it open or close it, which is freedom of choice.

    4. She feels victorious since she now is free and feels that she has kind of ”won” the marriage since she now has freedom to do what ever she wants.

    5. We think that the story represents a marriage of the old ways where the man is the dominant one and may make choices of his own will instead of consulting with the woman. In this kind of marriage the woman usually cleans and prepares food for the husband and he puts food on the table.

    Gilla

  8. There’s a lot of situational irony and also some dramatic irony because some things from the lyrics are actually not ironic but the songs name is ”ironic”. Maybe the author herself didn’t understand the true meaning of the word irony.

    Gilla

  9. 1.We think the author has chosen to make the setting of the story so limited because she does not want to draw a lot of attention to the surroundings but instead draw attention to how people feel.

    2.We think that she wants to deliver to us the expression of happiness. The author Kate wants us to understand the feelings the main character has. For instance when she realized that life is still moving to the death.

    3.Mallard did not want anybody to be there with her yet leaves the window open because nobody can climb trough the window which does not change her main objective of keeping people out. When it comes to how this relate the idea of being ”free” we can say that the outside world feels more free and better while at the same time it feels like the main character sister was trying to in prisoning her in her room. That’s what we think.

    4.She feels victorious since she understands that her life will probably become better without her husband. She really felt free and happy by herself and that makes her victorious.

    5.In the 1900-century a marriage was very strict to the traditions. As husband and wife both of them had their roles and were not supposed to break them. Todays role is strict, but not as strict as before.

    Johan/Robert

    Gilla

  10. 1.We think the author has chosen to make the setting of the story so limited because she does not want to draw a lot of attention to the surroundings but instead draw attention to how people feel.

    2.We think that she wants to deliver to us the expression of happiness. The author Kate wants us to understand the feelings the main character has. For instance when she realized that life is still moving to the death.

    3.Mallard did not want anybody to be there with her yet leaves the window open because nobody can climb trough the window which does not change her main objective of keeping people out. When it comes to how this relate the idea of being ”free” we can say that the outside world feels more free and better while at the same time it feels like the main character sister was trying to in prisoning her in her room. That’s what we think.

    4.She feels victorious since she understands that her life will probably become better without her husband. She really felt free and happy by herself and that makes her victorious.

    5.In the 1900-century a marriage was very strict to the traditions. As husband and wife both of them had their roles and were not supposed to break them. Today’s role is strict, but not as strict as before.

    Johan/Robert
    !Skickade en gång till för att det funkade inte på första försöket!

    Gilla

  11. 1. We feel like this limited setting is a way for the author to show how the woman views her own life situation. She feels restricted because of her husband, and she feels like her life is limited to her house. And that is what we think the author is trying to achieve.

    2. It shows how she views the world outside the window. She saw the world in a different light, because she felt like she was free. All her feelings revolve around the sense of freedom, like a heavy weight was lifted off her chest.

    3. It is a way to make the sense of freedom more apparent. She locked the door when she was sad and depressed by the news, but opened the window when she started to feel more free.

    4. She feels like she can take on the world, she has her whole life ahead of her and she wants to enjoy it. She feels like she won in a sense.

    5. This view of marriage does still exist in the present, but it is a lot more rare. Back then it was a lot more important to be married. And the men, in average, treated the women worse back then.
    The view is that marriage as a whole is just a cage.

    Gilla

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