The Motif of Spring in Kate Chopin’s the Story of an Hour

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The image is refreshing: Mrs. Mallard gaze out an open window to the vibrant outdoors, seeing a radiant sky, a myriad of singing birds, and a bountiful array of budding new life. In her recent past, Mrs. Mallard looks back on the torment caused by an oppressive husband, a marriage without love, and no hope for the future. In the short story,”Story of an Hour,” by Kate Chopin, the writer establishes a motif of spring images all throughout the narrative to symbolize a sense of freedom and joy considering her new life without her husband. By doing this the author shows the greater universal theme that people often temporarily convince themselves into believing that they have something they do not possess.

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Mrs. Mallard’s recently acquired happiness is demonstrated as Chopin weaves the image of a song in the distance. The beautiful music from afar reaches Mrs. Mallard and she hears “countless sparrows twittering in the eaves.” The writer implies that since the beginning of Spring, the birds could freely roam the world, therefore linking them to Mrs. Mallard’s liberty In addition, Chopin conveys the exotic sounds produced outside as Mrs. Mallard’s victory fanfare. As Mr. Mallard dies, the joy of the occurrence quickly reaches his wife as the music plays in the background. In terms of sound intensity, Chopin chooses the “twittering” of birds to hint at her incomplete liberation. Mrs. Mallard hears the soft noise of the birds instead of loud trumpeting and drums beating outside, indicating that her win is only temporary as her husband will soon retum.

As Mrs. Mallard looks out towards the vast expanse, her gaze slowly moves upward. Eventually her eyes look upon the trees. The author describes the trees by illustrating that they “were all aquiver with the new spring life to relate them to Mrs. Mallard’s sudden joy. Around the same time, both Mrs. Mallard and the trees are reborn. Chopin spawns the new season just as Mrs. Mallard hears about the death of her husband, providing a premature sense of joy. When the writer adds the word “aquiver” to the description of the trees, she suggests that the full image of spring has not fully developed yet; the trees are still trembling under the influence of the changing season. By linking the trees to Mrs. Mallard, the conclusion can be made that she is not accustomed to her new life, concerned that her husband probably still lives. Mrs. Mallard’s gaze out the window eventually moves above the trees. Chopin conveys Mrs. Mallard’s newly acquired freedom by illustrating spring imagery in the form of the open sky.

As Mrs. Mallard gazes out her window, the author describes the sky as “patches of blue showing here and there.” In the story, Chopin unravels the once cloudy sky, leaving free blue space to symbolize Mis. Mallard’s newly revealed freedom. The author’s connotation of the “patches of blue” suggests a clear portrait of Mrs. Mallard’s life without the complications of her husband. However, something odd lurks in this picture, a disturbance to Mrs. Mallard. The author places this image in by mentioning that she felt it, creeping out of the sky, reaching toward her through the sounds, the scents, the color that filled the air.” Chopin inserts the “something” “creeping out of the sky” to ruin the beautiful spring image of a clear sky, foreshadowing Mrs. Mallard’s loss of freedom as her husband returns. Chopin employs the word “creeping” to have a sinister connotation to negatively portray Mr. Mallard–the man that Mrs. Mallard desires not to be in her life.

All of the flaws in the spring images hint at a false dream which fades within an hour. As Mrs. Mallard’s husband ultimately returns home, her new life, the spring images, and the story comes to an end.

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The Motif of Spring in Kate Chopin's The Story of an Hour. (2022, Oct 06). Retrieved December 7, 2022 , from
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