The Story of an Hour

Kate Chopin in 1894
Kate Chopin in 1894 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

By Kate Chopin (1851–1904), @ 3 pages (1891).

Long before there was flash fiction, Kate Chopin seems to have mastered the form. The Story of an Hour gets a lot done in three pages.

A wife (Mrs. Mallard) learns some terrible news. It turns out she has a heart condition (relevant back story), so her sister is very careful about how she delivers the news. As it turns out, (a little twist) what we might think was horrible news is received as fantastic news by Mrs. Mallard. While everyone is terribly worried about her, she is secretly rejoicing.

But it turns out that there was an error in the news. What we thought happened actually did not (another twist). Mrs. Mallard receives a terrible shock when she finds out, and dies on the spot (twist).

The Story of an Hour is a story worth studying. It’s a great example of a short story in that it takes one situation and gives just enough information about the protagonist and supporting characters, so that we understand what’s going on. And personally, I love a good twist.

Kate Chopin is most known for her novel The Awakening (1899), which my anthology says ended her writing career because of its scandalous nature. The book is now praised as a portrait of a woman in search of her individuality.  Potato/ Potahto.

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6 thoughts on “The Story of an Hour

  1. I recently read this story for Literature class. By recently I mean last year 😉 I had the thickest book ever cram packed with awesome stories…I should have bought that book instead of rented it.

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