A short story “The Dream of an Hour” by Kate Chopin (2018) describes the events of one day when a very emotional woman with heart disease, Mrs. Mallard, learns about the death of her husband. Mrs. Mallard did not feel grief about this event, instead, she was experiencing a boost of joy and freedom illustrated with delicate descriptions of fresh wind and blue sky. The whole story happens in about one hour, and most of the narrative is focused on the sequence of emotions the heroine experiences after the shocking news. This plot strategy helps the reader to understand the depth of human feelings and the extraordinary pace at which they can change in one’s head.
Mrs. Mallard manages to complete an entire cycle of emotions from “dull stare” and “pepression” to “monstrous joy” and “feverish triumph” in just one hour of thinking in her room (Chopin, 2018, 2-3). In a relatively short description, the reader is able to grow sympathy and appreciation for this woman. Despite nothing in particular happening during this part of the story, the author manages to show how thoughts and feelings can be as valuable as the actual events, sometimes even overshadow them. When the heroine dies in the end, it works as a plot point because the readers have already become attached to her. At a specific moment, when Mrs. Mallard thinks “she would live for herself”, one might even start imagining her cheerful adventures further in life and, therefore, experience shock when her plans are interrupted by death (Chopin, 2018, 2). Overall, this way of unfolding events is somewhat ideal for the story, where more things happen in the character’s head than in the outside world. Reading about the emotional journey of Mrs. Mallard reminds one of the complexity of the human mind and the suddenness of death that can come even at moments of joy.
Chopin, K. (2018). The Dream of an Hour. In Selected Stories of Kate Chopin (pp. 1-4). Cengage Learning. Web.