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Kate Chopin's literary work, The Story of an Hour, is truly a gripping one. The story caught my attention and easily passes for a great piece of literature that also stands out and with a great thematic effect. In fact in this piece of literature Kate Chopin has surpassed most books by far in creating a literal and thematic effect.
There is an immediate attraction that Kate Chopin creates at the start of the story. The revelation of the fact that Mrs. Mallard had a heart disease and that there is news of her husbands death, makes a reader want to read on and find out what the reaction will be from Mrs. Mallard. Will the news affect her, will the news make her sick and probably kill her, will she rejoice and be glad that her cause for heart disease is long gone and that she can now start the recovery process. These and many more are the questions that create an attraction to the story.
The literary piece of work can be analyzed form various analytical approaches or perspectives. However, in my opinion it could be best analyzed from the reader response or formalist approaches. This paper will examine the literary piece from a formalistic approach.
Before engaging in the analysis it could have been imperative to state what exactly the formalism approach will be concerned with in reviewing the literary piece. This approach will basically be involved with the text very closely. The text itself will be analyzed from the perspectives of what the text brings out in terms of metaphor, paradox, rhyme, imagery and even metaphor. This paper will concentrate mostly on imagery and metaphor s the basic element of analysis of the text.
In the story we find that the news of Bentley Mallard creates a certain ecstatic effect to Mrs. Mallard. This effect is immediately reflected when Mrs. Mallard runs to her room upstairs. This is metaphorical and brings out an element of imagery such that she has now run from the usual life that she was living. The image here is that she has now dissociated herself with the life that was, a life which included her sister Josephine and her husband's friend Richard. The two were part of the life that has now just ended that life of oppression and lack of freedom.
Another aspect of Mrs. Mallard's reactions that are metaphorical is when she looks through the window pane. At this point the metaphor is that she now has an immediate hope, a fresh and new beginning in her life, a world of great aspirations and opportunities in the coming years. A life that will give her the freedom she has long stayed without.
Imagery is also created in the story whereby, we see Mrs. Mallard staring at a sky that has clouds. These clouds provide some form of evidence that the relationship they had was not all rosy, there were at times when things were rough, times when she felt depressed, which was almost all the time in the relationship. The blue sky on the other hand shows that though there were those rough and tough times in the relationship, all was not lost. There is now an opportunity to forget the rough times and focus on creating a new beginning, one that has fewer oppression and gives so much in terms of freedom.
The final intriguing analysis is on the last paragraph. On this paragraph, Bently Mallard walks in looking tired and carrying his luggage. This astonishes Josephine and makes Richard act quickly to try and hide Bently from his approaching wife who already knew that her husband was dead, dead with all the oppression that she had been experiencing. She had thought that she now a new life of triumph to live; in fact she descends the stairs with the feel of triumph only to be shocked by the sight of her husband. Seeing her husband walk in gives her an intrinsic joy and disbelief at the same time. The feel that her life is still bound to oppression and lack of freedom brings her down, thought at the same time the knowledge that her husband is alive is joyous in itself. She thus dies of an intrinsic joy, one that is fatal, as the doctors put it.
In conclusion the analysis of the story using the formalistic approach brings out the fact that the story is full of suspense especially at the last paragraph. The piece is magnificent in bringing this out, it leaves the reader with the urge to know what actually happened after she collapsed. Later we however told what happened. However, if this could have been left untold the story could have been more intriguing and with a wide scope for criticism.