LITERARY ANALYSIS 3
Thematically, time is also employed to emphasize the constraints that Louise is facing.
From the title of the story, we learn that the events of the story take place in an hour. Narrating a
life-long tale of events within an hour is constraining, but somehow Chopin manages to do so.
After receiving the news of her husband’s passing, a myriad of things rushes through Louise’s
mind yet she only has an hour to shape her life and charter her way forward. How does one deal
with the loss of a loved one and make plans for her future within an hour? That is constraining if
Irony is also used to build up the theme of constraint. A significant portion of the story is
a narration of how Louise anticipates her life will turn out now that her husband is gone.
Although sad at first, Louise becomes relieved with the thought of the great promise her life as a
widow will. However, this does not come to pass as Louise falls ill and the hope of an exciting
life is short-lived. On her deathbed, Louise learns that Brently was alive all along. The reader
would expect that Louise would be heartbroken by this piece of news but on the contrary, she is
overjoyed. The doctors say “she died of heart disease-of joy that kills,” joy, presumably from
hearing that her husband is alive (Chopin, 1864). All along, her happiness was constrained
within her marriage yet she thought it was without. The irony!
The choice of genre and title of the book are also constraining. Chopin opts to write
Louise’s ordeal as a short story yet it had enough material to suffice a novel. The short story
genre not only creates a sense of immediacy to a story but also has a constraining factor in its
narration, sometimes to about three pages. Just like Louise was constrained in her marriage so is
her story, a life-long endeavor for the pursuit of liberation and happiness, squeezed to fit in a