Language

Style of language

The language used by Kate Chopin in “The Story of an Hour” is formal and in keeping with the language of the 19th century, when it was written. The story uses complex sentences and descriptive words:

Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with a heart trouble, great care was taken to break to her as gently as possible the news of her husband’s death. It was her sister Josephine who told her, in broken sentences; veiled hints that revealed in half concealing. (p. 106, ll. 1-4)

There is very little dialogue, the story focusing instead on Louise Mallard’s thoughts. We notice the use of exclamation points after she acknowledges her freedom (p. 107). These indicate Louise's sudden revelation and the impact it has on her.

In terms of choice of words, when Louise Mallard thinks about her past life when her husband was alive, the narrative uses negative phrases such as “powerful will” (p. 107, l. 14), “blind persistence” (p. 107, l. 15), “cruel” (p. 107, l. 17), and “crime” (p. 107, l. 17). These words hint at Louise’s difficult state of mind during a time when she...

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