The Upstairs and Downstairs of "The Story of an Hour-.
Howe, and Kate Chopin are just a few American authors known for their "Local Color or Regional- style of writing. (1) Chopin, however, writes stories about women and theirs rolls in traditional relationships of her time (late 1800's) period. Chopin's use of symbols to enlighten the readers imagination forcing them to beg the question, why is this so easy? But, you have to dig deeper to understand the tragic (to the reader) irony that ultimately befalls the main character. .
In The Story of an Hour, Chopin uses the geography of the house to represent to old and the new. The "old- being the downstairs or main living area, where the news of Brently Mallard's death is revealed to Mrs. Mallard. The "new- being the upstairs where Mrs. Mallard experiences this prophetic glimpse in to her future, creating this incredible calm.
Chopin gives no details to the area downstairs. It is downstairs where the story begins "Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with a heart trouble ."" setting off the news of Brently Mallards untimely and tragic death. Downstairs is where Mrs. Mallard, "wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment ."" From Mrs. Mallards response as she ran upstairs, to her room, it is obvious that the new of Brently's death has over come her, or has it!.
Chopin's first associative description of the upstairs is "a comfortable, roomy armchair ."" facing an open window where, "Into this she sank, pressed down by a physical exhaustion ."" Leading the reader to conclude that, this is a place Mrs. Mallard frequents to seek solace. It is in the big arm chair where Mrs. Mallard experiences the epiphany; that this is a bitter sweet tragedy, and she is finally free of the societal imposed traditional of husband then wife.
Renewed and ready to face the new life ahead, Mrs. Mallard (Louise at this point) emerges from her room to liberate herself from the lingering societal bonds downstairs.