Explorations of "The Story of an Hour"

Every story needs to be read in context of the writers other works to some degree. Chopin wrote other fiction about marriage which is especially relevant, including The Awakening and several stories. In particular, you should note the short piece called "Reflections"You might like to explore those ties in a paper.

The literary context of Chopin's work is debatable. She can be considered as a Southern women writer, a proto-feminist (a label she strongly denied), a local-colorist, a romantic, a realist, or a naturalist. In fact, her work may be characterized by ties to several literary "movements," ties which you might like to explore.

There have been two video productions of this story which are available through the library. "The Joy that Kills" is a 56-minute production produced by Tina Rathbone with many interpretive additions and feminist overtones. In this production Louise is presented as an invalid, envious of her husband's freedom. The video is described as follows: "The setting is the world of the upper-class Creole society which dominated New Orleans in the 1870s, a world with a strict code of behavior, one of whose strongest tenets required a wife to subordinate her will and her very being to her husband." "Five Stories of an Hour" presents five dramatizations for a total of 26 minutes, each keeping the intense brevity of the story but with decidedly different approaches to the "gaps" of the story. You might compare any or all of these interpretations with each other and with your own reading of the story and the characters.