What Are Examples of Symbolism in “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin?

Louise’s heart trouble and the open window from which she gazes are examples of symbolism in “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin. Symbolism in the story is used to illustrate Louise’s lack of freedom and desire for independence.

In “The Story of an Hour,” the main character, Louise, suffers from heart trouble. Louise’s heart trouble is representative of her mixed feelings about her marriage and the lack of freedom it causes her. When Louise believes that her husband is dead, her heart begins to beat strongly and she embraces the idea of finally being free from her marriage. When her husband turns out to be alive, the shock of it kills her. His return marks the loss of freedom and joy.

After Louise receives the news that her husband has died, she stares through an open window and contemplates her life without marriage. The signs of spring she witnesses through the window are symbolic of her freedom and the endless possibilities for a happy life. When she turns from the window and sees her newly returned husband whom she thought was dead, all of her possibilities fade. All signs of life that are found within the story are outside of the home. The home is symbolic of a prison. Even the front door of the home is locked with a key that only her husband has.