Authors of the Gilded Age became less interested in a happy ending and more focused on what really happened. They separated themselves from the emotionalism of the Romanics, with the happy marriages and true love, and drifted toward that of the truth and the realism of these situations. Through the use of imagery, Kate Chopin related the main character's emotions in The Story of an Hour, to that of the realism of the Gilded Age.
In this short story Kate Chopin employed sight imagery to relate Louise Mallard's emotions in The Story of an Hour. After the terrible news of her husband's death, Louise saw "patches of blue sky showing here and there through the clouds". The death of her husband related to the railway conditions of the Gilded Age; they were not very safe, so death was a common place. This refuted the Romantics way of thinking that there is always a happy ending, and supported the beliefs of the Realists, that there is sadness in the world and one must get over it and move on with their life. The clouds in the sky represented her life with her husband and his controlling influences that severely limited her options. After his death, the clouds/ her life became more free and open; she could see more without the clouds/ her husband obstructing her view of the world/ life. .
Sight imagery is again used to relate the realism in the story, The Story of an Hour, to life and to refute the beliefs of the Romantics. The idea the she was free from her marriage was enlightening to Louise. It dawned on her as "the vacant stare and the look of terror that had followed [the news of her husband's death] went from her eyes", that she was a free woman. The Romantics like to believe that women wanted to be married and under the control of a man, but Kate Chopin refuted this idea by the fact that Louise became delighted by the idea of life without her husband. The realistic idea was women are capable of caring for themselves and living independently, even without a man to watch over them.