“The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin is an example of a well-structured short story, in which the five parts of the plot, in accordance with Freytag’s Pyramid, may be found. These five steps include exposition, rising action, climax, or the highest point of tension, followed by falling action, and resolution. In this essay, the plot of the story will be analyzed, considering Freytag’s Pyramid structure.
The exposition includes the beginning of the story where Mrs. Louise Mallard is informed about her husband’s death. The precondition mentioned here is that the woman has been afflicted with heart trouble, so her sister, Josephine, makes an effort to be careful while telling her the news. The rising action of the plot starts when Mrs. Mallard goes to her room and starts reflecting on what she just learned. She opens the window and starts observing the nature around. The controversial thoughts come to her mind, as she understands that she has never felt freedom during her life with her husband, “yet she had loved him – sometimes … often she had not” (Chopin 353). At this moment, the story comes to its climax when “a little whispered word escaped her slightly parted lips …’ free, free, free!’” (Chopin 353). She suddenly feels extreme joy and happiness, planning that she will live the following years just for herself, in freedom of being alone.
The next part, falling action, starts when Josephine returns to her room, begging to open the door. Together they descend the stairs, and, suddenly, see Brently Mallard, Louise’s husband, entering the door; he was, thus, considered dead by mistake. The woman, seeing him, immediately falls, and at this point, the story comes to its resolution. As the doctors stated later, she had died of a heart attack due to happiness.
However, taking into account her previous thoughts, the readers understand that the reason was difficult. This reason was her internal conflict between the expected picture built in her mind very quickly after the death of her husband, and the reality when she saw him alive. A while ago, she would cry after receiving the news about his death; in an hour, her husband became the conflict element that caused her death.
Chopin, Kate. The Complete Works of Kate Chopin. LSU Press, 2006.