To honor my feelings about Valentines Day, I’d like to review this short gem of a story. I’d say it was fate that I was reading from my textbook for next term. Instead of environmental science, I have the fortune to be able to teach to my passion, literature and writing. This weekend will be spent prepping for the first few days and reading some of the stories that I will be assigning my students.
We will be reading one of my favorite stories by Chopin, The Story of an Hour. It is a really short short story. The economy of the language is superb. Chopin makes every sentence, every word matter. The challenge here, to my students, will be to try to remove any one sentence from the story without adversely impacting the overall tone or plot. This will require some close reading of the story, but I think that the in-class assignment will set the correct tone for the rest of the term.
I so enjoy the ending to this story. It says it all. We may love our spouses with all of our hearts, but there are also moments of suffocation that come with loving someone so completely. The freedom that she came to understand through sitting in her room was like having a pillow lifted off her face. She would no longer have to live with the terrible weight of her love for husband, Brently. She was free.
Chopin, Kate. “The Story of an Hour.” Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing. 10th ed. Ed. X.J. Kennedy and Dana Gioia. New York: Longman, 2007. 523 - 524