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English Igcse Paper 2 > The Story of an Hour > Flashcards

Flashcards in The Story of an Hour Deck (6)
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  1. Expected reaction to the news
  • The euphemistic heart trouble / Foreshadowing
  • “Care was taken to break it to her as gently as possible” - hides agency / passive verb construction . It does not tell us who / implies that everyone has to look after her. - “As gently as…” shows that this is not news that can every be “gentle”
  • “Afflicted with a heart trouble” - cardiovascular. And emotional? Ambiguous?
  • “In broken sentences; veiled hints that revealed in half concealing.” -
  • “Any less careful, less tender friends…” - Richards too tender and too careful?
  • Juxtaposition between her reaction and that of others: not “paralyzed inability to accept its significance”. She “wept” with “sudden, wild, abandonment”. Not frozen, but emotional. Foreshadows her abnormal reactions
  • Lack of control over her emotions : “Storm of grief had spent itself” - reflexive pronoun / as if she is not involved. Metaphorical “storm” is violent but temporary.

2a. Actual Reaction to the news: - Involuntary positive reaction (Lines 16-19)

  • Involuntary positive reaction (Lines 16-19)
    Positive outside of the window: “open square”, (repetition of ‘open’) - “new spring life” , - irony of images of hope / renewal when the husband has died “song” - metaphor, “Patches of blue sky…through the clouds that had met and piled one above the other in the west facing her window. pathetic fallacy,
  • Past tense - all the bad things are now in the past / no longer. Sense of relief / optimism, even though she doesn’t feel it yet!
  • “Clouds” = misery. “Blue skies showing” through when he died - optimism/ new hope. Unexpected reaction.
  • “The sounds, the scents, the colour that filled the air.” - asyndeton, anaphora, list of 3 sensory imagery builds anticipation / sense of possibility.

2b. Powerlessness to resist her feelings


-> “She sat with her head thrown back upon the cushion of the chair, quite motionless,

except when a sob came up into her throat and shook her, as a child who has cried itself

to sleep continues to sob in its dreams.”

→ Personification

→ She is the object = she is helpless and has no control over her feelings → involuntary reaction

→ “As a child” - simile, sense of vulnerability

  • Initially in denial / tries to resist feelings
  • “There was something coming to her and she was waiting for it, fearfully.” (line 29) Creeping / “reaching” Line 30 and 31 “approaching to possess her” - personification - predator. Sense of threat. Mystery of “something” .
  • “striving to beat it back with her will”
  • “Striving” Trying but failing
  • Plosives of “beat” and “back”
  • “Monstrous joy that held her” - metaphor

“Monstrous joy” → oxymoron shows her inner conflict.

“Held her” → sense of powerlessness, can’t control it but can feel it

  • “And yet she had loved him, sometimes. Often she had not.” - reveals divided emotions / guilt about relief. Comma before adverb “sometimes” / delay before qualifier. Contrast of “sometimes” and “often” - acceptance that she generally did not love him / will not miss him.

2c) - Acceptance of her feelings


“The face that had never looked save with love upon her, fixed and gray and dead”

  • Polysyndeton
  • Depersonalization → disassociates (synecdoche?). Focuses on the corpse, rather than on her husband.

2d) - Her growing power and confidence


-> “She saw beyond that bitter moment a long procession of years that would belong to her absolutely.”

→ Metaphor “bitter” and plosives

→ “Long procession of years” metaphor

→ “Belong” metaphor of ownership / power

-> Line 45: “There would be no one to live for during those coming years; she would live for herself.”

→ “Would be” → past tense conditional, foreshadowing,

→ “Noone to live for” seems negative / implies loneliness. Suddenly, after the semi colon, it becomes positive = statement of empowerment, life will now be positive and she can prioritise herself.

-> “She breathed a quick prayer that life might be long. It was only yesterday she had thought with a shudder that life might be long.”

→ “Life might be long” → epistrophe - looking at juxtaposition between past and present

  • “Feverish triumph” - oxymoron
  • “Spring days, and summer days, and all sorts of days that would be her own.”
    → Repetition of “days” - counting in “days” rather than weeks or months emphasises the expanse of time (as does the polysyndeton). Sense of possibility / opportunity.

→ Build up of confidence - more syllables every clause highlighting expansion as well.

→ Emphasises the irony as the reader finds out that this won’t be the case

  1. The ending
  • End: Threat of outside world - his return is unwelcome. Irony of the way they protected her at the beginning from bad news..
  • “He stood amazed at Josephine’s piercing cry; at Richards’ quick motion to screen him from
    the view of his wife.”

→ His wife only mentioned at end - juxtaposition with detailed internal monologue throughout the story. Sudden and anticlimactic. Her life is over and we do not know how she feels. Instead of freedom, she loses everything.

→ “piercing cry” - metaphor → screen from view of his wife

  • “When the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease–of the joy that kills.”
    → Irony - the “joy” was his death not the joy that he was alive

→ Dramatic irony - the readers know about her internal “monstrous joy”, but other characters don’t