Story of an Hour Essay

June 05, 2015 - Posted to Useful Tips To Improve Essay Writing Skills Story of an Hour Essay

Writing an Analytical “The Story of an Hour” Essay

Among American short stories, “The Story of an Hour” is not widely known or read. In recent years, however, there has been a renewed interest in this story as well as other works by 19h century author, Kate Chopin. Now, it is a common assignment for reading and discussion in American literature courses and usually comes with “The Story of an Hour” essay assignment.

At a literal level, the plot of this story is simple. It relates the final hour of the life of Mrs. Mallard, a woman with a serious heart condition, who has just been informed that her husband has been killed in a railroad accident. During the next hour, she confines herself to her room to process this news, and emerges just as her husband walks through the front door, very much alive. She then has a heart attack and dies.

If you have been assigned a “Story of an Hour” essay, however, you will have to look far beyond the basic plot development, climax, and denouement. There are several layers with which to analyze this piece of literature, and what follows are some suggestions, as you contemplate your topic and purpose.



  1. Is the response to news of her husband’s death typical of most happily married wives? Compare Mrs. Mallard’s response to that of someone you know who has lost a spouse.
  2. In what ways did all of the characters in the story have freedoms and confinements during and after the story’s end?
  3. How did Mrs. Mallard’s persona change as she spent the hour in her room? What is the symbolism of her opening the door and coming out of her room on her own?


  1. In “The Story of an Hour” analysis essay, address the theme of mortality as it pertains to the importance of time in one’s life.
  2. Discuss the theme of freedom vs. confinement and the oft-posited contention that author Chopin believed that these were predominantly mental conditions.
  3. One possible reason for the renewed interest in this short story is that many now see Kate Chopin as an early feminist who impacted the works of 10h century female authors. In what way was Mrs. Mallard portrayed as an example of feminism, given the time in which the story was written?

Tone and Style

  1. There are several examples of foreshadowing within the story. Write an essay on “The Story of an Hour,” that identifies and discusses these examples.
  2. The conversation and the tone of conversation in the story are all indicative of beliefs about women and illness in the late 19th century. Point to examples of conversation that demonstrate this.

Writing the Essay

The topic you choose should lead you directly to the thesis statement for your essay. Toward the end of your “The Story of an Hour” introduction, the thesis should be stated, so that the reader knows exactly what to expect. For example, you might say, “Mrs. Mallard, in the course of one hour, transformed from a grieving new widow to an individual who took delight in her newly acquired freedom,” or, “Mrs. Mallard represents thought of early feminists that they could be independent, make their own choices, and be unaccountable to others. The beginning of the introduction should “hook” the reader in some way, perhaps with a statement about the fragility of human mortality or the relativity of ideas of freedom and/or confinement.

Body paragraphs should be begun with strong topic sentences that each address one point of your essay.  If you were writing on how freedom and confinement impacted each of the characters, for example, you would devote a paragraph to each character.

The conclusion should contain no new information but should, instead “loop” back around to your thesis statement. Remind the reader that you “made your case.”

If you find “The Story of an Hour” a rather dull piece of literature, you are not alone. Still, others find it enjoyable for its “surprise,” and possibly ironic ending. Mr. Mallard, after all, is the one who is now free from the confinement of caring for an ill wife! Perhaps you are inundated with essay and paper assignments and find this one to be more disagreeable than others you must produce. In such a situation, you are certainly welcome to contact Premier Essay and get an American literature expert to produce a great essay for you.

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