The Story of an Hour

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The Window Symbol Icon

When Louise Mallard shuts herself in her room, she sits in front of a window. The window is open, symbolizing a sense of possibility and a reinvigoration of Louise’s senses and, therefore, her feeling of being alive. She smells the fresh scent of rain coming in from outside. She sees trees moving in the wind and portions of blue sky stretching between heavy clouds. She hears a merchant trying to sell his goods in the streets, fragments of a far-off song, and the sound of birds. It is by sitting in front of this open window that Louise begins to realize her own freedom and independence and the prospect that she can lead a life of her own. Experiencing the sights and sounds of the “new spring life” helps her get in touch with her own desire to burst forth into a new kind of life.

The Window Quotes in The Story of an Hour

The The Story of an Hour quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Window. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Women in 19th-Century Society Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Signet edition of The Story of an Hour published in 1976.
“The Story of an Hour” Quotes

She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life. The delicious breath of rain was in the air. In the street below a peddler was crying his wares. The notes of a distant song which some one was singing reached her faintly, and countless sparrows were twittering in the eaves.

Related Characters: Louise Mallard
Related Symbols: The Window
Page Number: 217
Explanation and Analysis:

Having mostly stopped crying, Louise retreats to the isolation of her locked bedroom and sinks into a chair placed by the open window. What she sees beyond the window frame takes on symbolic meaning. The treetops full of “new spring life” represent new beginnings and possibilities. Though she hasn’t yet realized it, the spring-like qualities of the outdoors endear themselves to her, as evidenced by the fact that the smell of rain in the air is described as “delicious.” Having returned from their winter travels, the birds symbolize a freedom and a resurgence of life, and it is important to note that even something as mundane and ordinary as a “peddler crying his wares” seems to take on an alluring quality alongside the attractive descriptions of springtime. Louise’s seduction by the springtime outside her window is a powerful echo of her own growing sense that a new life is waiting for her on the other side of her grief.


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The Window Symbol Timeline in The Story of an Hour

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Window appears in The Story of an Hour. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
“The Story of an Hour”
Freedom and Independence Theme Icon
...Josephine or Richards follow her. Alone, she falls into a chair placed before an open window. Absolutely drained by her own anguish and haunted by exhaustion, she rests in the chair... (full context)
Freedom and Independence Theme Icon
Outside her window, Louise sees trees moving in the new spring wind, smells the scent of rain outside,... (full context)