Very little action is seen in Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour."" The story takes place in the springtime, in a house, and is set somewhere in the middle 1900's. Mrs. Mallard, a wife afflicted with heart trouble, is informed of her husband's tragic death by her sister Josephine. After a period of grieving, Mrs. Mallard retreats to the desolation of her bedroom and realizes that in a way she has become free. Soon thereafter, her sister Josephine pleads with her to come out of her room for fear she may make herself ill. Mrs. Mallard finally agrees and accompanies her sister downstairs. As they reach the bottom of the stairs, they notice that someone is using a key to open the door. When the door opens, Brently Mallard, Mrs. Mallard's husband enters. The pure shock of seeing her husband whom she thought was dead, killed her almost instantly. According to Kate Chopin, "When the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease "of joy that kills."" (14).
One theme illustrated in this story is a "new beginning,"" or a newfound freedom. "The Story of an Hour- takes place during the season of spring. Springtime usually signifies new life, rebirth, and new beginnings. Therefore, Kate Chopin may have included this key element of the setting to portray the idea that Mrs. Mallard in a way has the chance for a "new beginning,"" due to her husband's death. As we read the story we are able to see Mrs. Mallard's inner feelings and thoughts. Through these thoughts and emotions we gather that Mrs. Mallard, although deeply distraught over her husband's death, finds that through this tragedy, she is in a way free. Free from the restricting bonds of marriage perhaps, or maybe simply free to experience a new side of life. .
The ending of "The Story of an Hour,"" displays many different instances of irony. We, as readers, gather that Mrs. Mallard is happy that she now is free and has the chance for a new beginning.