Back to: The Story of An Hour by Kate Chopin
The story is set entirely in the house of the couple called the Mallards. The entire story is written for a duration of sixty minutes and we witness all the action inside the house. We know that the house itself has multiple floors and rooms.
The house is also depicted as a prison when seen through the reactions if Louise to her husband’s death. She seems to feel free and uninhibited, contrasting to her position as a married woman. We also learn about the news office and train routes but they are used to qualify the story rather than appear as scenes of action.
There is also an interesting contrast between the inside and the outside. At first, the dangers seem to lie outside the comforts of the domestic household and the possibility of getting into fatal accidents.
In the end, it turns out that the same comforts of the house can become chains of suffocation and limit one’s ability to think and act freely. This is a feministic critique of the dynamics of gender roles and domestic spaces.
Women are generally relegated to domestic life inside the house. This is reflected by both Josephine and Louise. However, men are free to go outdoors to earn a living.
This reflects a feministic interpretation of the story and the institution of marriage as a whole. Even though there are several flaws and inherent judgment within that interpretation, it is what the author tries to impose on the relationships between men and women and the domestic spaces.