Language of Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” Story
The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin demonstrates language on private and public levels through short dialogues of the main character with herself and others. The main character, Louise, has troubles with her heart and encounters news of her husband passing away in a railroad disaster (Chopin, 1894/2019). Language on the public level is represented by conversations between all characters who comfort Louise and express worry about her well-being (Chopin, 1894/2019). Private language is shown by the words Louise tells to herself when she realizes that she is happy with her husband’s demise, as Louise says, “free! Body and soul free” (Chopin, 1894/2019, p. 177). However, the power of the two levels is in the harmfulness of the narrative. First, Louise is so delighted with her freedom that she eventually dies from the “joy that kills” (Chopin, 1894/2019, p. 178). Moreover, the story raises the question of an unhappy marriage and suggests that one should not be joyful because of someone else’s death (Chopin, 1894/2019). Chopin challenges harmful narratives by showing that there are more than one side to a story, and not all of them are optimistic.