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.