Kate Chopin's short story "The Story of an Hour" discusses topics such as forbidden independence, oppression, freedom, self-fulfillment, and self-love. Louise, who is the main character in the story, is informed that her husband has died in a railroad accident. Having received this horrible news, Louise grieves, then locks herself in her room to be alone, allowing herself to be taken over by the realization of a newly found independence. Louise no longer has her husband's control bending her own will or restricting her, which excites her because the newly found pleasure of independence is considered to be forbidden in her society. The self-love Louise developed while realizing her own freedom turned into self-destruction as she let the new feeling of independence cloud the love she had for her husband, and she saw her future freedom melt away. .
Louise knows the "forbidden apple" is her independence. The story is set in the nineteenth century, often called the Victorian Age, after England's Queen Victoria, an age that was impacted by the industrial revolution, causing a stark difference between the gender roles, particularly in the upper and middle classes. Men were no longer the only ones who could work; women were now able to get jobs. If women were in the lower class, they could get jobs as servants, domestic helpers, or factory workers. Upper and middle class women were able to get jobs in family businesses, but the economy and society dictated that women should work in their homes doing housework like cleaning, looking after the children, and cooking. Louise lives in a society that does not allow her to have independence, and not having independence is what she is used to. In the time period the story is set in, women are starting to fight for their independence and their equal rights. After hearing the news of her husband's death, Louise locks herself in her room to be alone.