Freedom of body and soul is the most important right any person can have. Unfortunately, often times the freedom of a woman is infringed upon by her husband; a person who is supposedly held so sacred and dear. In "The Story of an Hour," by Kate Chopin, Mrs. Mallard is suddenly surprised to find herself in a situation of freedom after years of spousal oppression. This newfound freedom causes a wide array of emotions for Mrs. Mallard. Kate Chopin shows the intimate details of the character's emotions through the use of multiple literary devices, including symbolism and irony.
Foreshadowing of an ominous event is shown in the first line at the mention of Mrs. Mallard's heart condition. The fact that Chopin takes care to give the reader a first impression of a stereotypical frail gentlewoman indicates that she wishes the reader to instantly recognize the type of woman that Mrs. Mallard is supposed to be by her family and friends. The story quickly shows that Mrs. Mallard is not quite the woman her family thinks she is when they tell her of her husband's death and she does not "hear the story as many women have." .
Chopin more accurately shows Mrs. Mallard's true emotion through uses of the motifs of spring, traditionally symbolic of new life. The symbolism begins with the "storm of grief" Mrs. Mallard feels at the news of her husband's death. Storms, which generally have connotations of darkness and sadness, are used in this story only to show her past, which will clear and make way for the future. The motif of spring life is more fully realized when the character sits in her comfortable armchair and contemplates her life while staring out of the window. .
Chopin symbolically appeals to all five of the reader's senses through the description of daily life outside Mrs. Mallard's open window. The reader's taste and smell are appealed to with the "delicious breath of rain". Rain is usually a symbol for new life and growth, because it both washes away the dust and dirt of the past and nourishes the future life.