Writing an essay on “The Story of an Hour” (1894) by Kate Chopin can be a rather interesting experience. This short story gives a remarkable number of ideas to discuss. In fact, there weren’t as many female authors at the end of the 19th century, and those who were tried to follow the common norms and expectations. Yet, Chopin chose to be provocative, controversial, and overall undeniably herself. Hence, the works by this author were long deemed unpublishable. However, with the social changes, Chopin’s stories were open to the public once again.
“The Story of an Hour” by Chopin is probably one of her most popular pieces. Critics and academics still argue about its meaning, style, and plot. So, as a student, you can also take a chance at analyzing it. However, remember that there are a few essential aspects that every the story of an hour essay should have. Let’s see what you should definitely mention in “The Story of an Hour” essay.
Brief Summary of the Text
It’s always best to start with a brief summary of the text you are about to analyze. You don’t have to mention much. Yet, it’s important to outline the main plot, protagonists, big ideas, main theme, etc. First, such a summary will remind readers about the story you are using for the analysis. Secondly, it shows teachers how well their students understood the text. Moreover, such a beginning also demonstrates your ability to summarize the essential information without being too wordy about it. Overall, as long as your instructor doesn’t have anything against a brief text summary, you only benefit by adding it at the beginning of your essay.
Thus, in the case of “The Story of an Hour,” a student should mention the main events and the protagonist’s feelings. Thus, write about the news of her husband’s death, Louise’s feelings about it, as well as her husband not being dead at the end and Louise’s tragic death. Dedicate one short paragraph to recall all this information. Don’t use any personal statements or judgment at this point. Also, in this part, you may add several short sentences about the author of the text, Kate Chopin. For instance, mention what a writer Chopin was, her motivation to publish this story, and the public’s perception.
Choose a Thesis
What you certainly shouldn’t do in an essay like this is to continue with the summary of the text to the end. Instead, it’s best to find a particular angle to the text and focus on it. Hence, you get to choose a thesis statement. It can be anything from the analysis of gender politics based on the text to the women’s role in the late 19-century society. Overall, it is always a good idea to find an interesting and unique topic that you can discuss and analyze in your paper as a writer.
When writing about “The Story of an Hour,” you can choose such issues as marriage, love, gender expectations, irony, egoism, domestic tyranny, just to name a few. Pick one of those issues and think about what this story has taught you. Is there any underlying truth hidden beneath the main events? What does this story tell you about love? What was the common marriage dynamic during that time in history? Overall, pick an angle to this story and elaborate. Use the text as your main source for references.
You can’t write a paper on “The Story of an Hour” without giving any historical context to the period which takes place in the story. Hence, of course, students will need to do some research beforehand. For example, here, you can mention the lack of freedoms and rights for women. After all, Louise feels happy learning about her husband’s death not because she is a bad person or has some negative feelings towards her husband. Of course, such a description of the protagonist wouldn’t be correct. Yet, that is exactly what some people may think without reading about the historical context that caused such an unexpected (happy) reaction.
By providing the context to the story, you help readers find the meaning and intention originally put in a story. After all, the world has changed drastically since then, especially in regards to gender politics. Thus, it’s important to explain the realities of life described in this short story. By doing so, you help buy the more profound story’s perception.
Early Feminism Movement
“The Story of an Hour” serves as a perfect example of women’s lives before the feminism movement. Of course, the idea of women’s rights and independence has already been circulating in most Western societies. Yet, it will take another 20 to 70 years to give up the liberties Louise was dreaming about when she heard about her husband’s death.
Moreover, Chopin’s works were at the roots of the early feminist movement. They depict the struggles most women had to endure during the pre-feminism times. These works shed light on everyday women, their worries, dreams, desires, and fears. In “The Story of an Hour,” readers learn how desperate women were for the right to rule their own lives.