Themes and Narrative Elements in the Short Story

Themes and Narrative Elements in the Short Story Bobbie Davis ENG 125 Introduction to Literature September 19, 2011 Themes and Narrative Elements in the Short Story As I explained in last week’s paper I found Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” to be very intriguing to say the least. It was well written, full of symbols, metaphors and similes; I have decided to write about it once again. After using the historical approach to analyze this story and researching the author herself I found an underlying theme of freedom from social norms with the plot and the character portrayed contributing to that theme.

A plot is a dynamic element in fiction, a sequence of interrelated, conflicting actions and events that typically build to a climax and bring about a resolution (Clugston, 2010). In this story the plot is by no means climatic but it starts with a tragic death, which draws you in, I know morbid but true. Everyone is afraid to tell the young woman about her husband’s death because of her weak heart. They all fear she will die from grief. But when she is told, she locks herself in her room after a crying fit, again, everyone worried that she will make herself ill with grief. But this is not what the young woman is doing.

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She is realizing something, struggling with something. You have to keep reading because now you want to know…what is she doing? If you understand the metaphors, similes and symbols you can figure it out before the epiphany happens, but you have to read carefully. If you don’t you begin to think her cruel, she’s happy her husband is dead? And the plot thickens until the words escape her mouth, “Free, free, free! ” And there is the epiphany, what we have been waiting for. She has struggled with social norms and her husband’s will bending because he was the man and all she wanted was freedom from this problem and she has it!

The theme has now become obvious, freedom from social norms. I feel that the character that Kate Chopin created is what will remain the most rememberable to me. Nothing else in the story matters except the struggling Mrs. Mallard went through to realize her new life. It’s not about the death of her husband and how tragic it was (or wasn’t because he’s still alive! ) or the details she sees outside her window, it’s the change she goes through in her room. It comes from the character of Mrs. Mallard herself; it’s the realization that she will now be able to live her life by herself for herself and no one else.

It’s the theme once again of freedom from social norms and the character’s feelings and thoughts lead us to realize that theme. Kate Chopin’s “Story of an Hour” is well written, well structured and helped you down the path to the theme with it’s plot and character. And I can’t wait to read “The Awakening”! I just have to find the time to become involved in another well-written story. References Clugston, R. W. (2010). Journey into literature. San Diego, California: Bridgepoint Education, Inc. https://content. ashford. edu/books

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