The Story of an Hour

Louise’s Weak Heart Symbol Analysis

Louise’s Weak Heart Symbol Icon

Louise’s heart trouble symbolizes her emotional delicacy. It presents her with a conundrum: allow herself to experience the full capacity of human feeling and consequently risk her health, or stifle and repress her emotions in order to go on living a compromised life. Her heart condition therefore mirrors the ways in which the institution of marriage encroaches upon Louise’s independence, for just as her heart’s weakness keeps her from leading the life she would otherwise live, marriage prevents her from exercising her freedom of will.

Louise’s Weak Heart Quotes in The Story of an Hour

The The Story of an Hour quotes below all refer to the symbol of Louise’s Weak Heart. 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 numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Signet edition of The Story of an Hour published in 1976.
“The Story of an Hour” Quotes

She did not hear the story as many women have heard the same, with a paralyzed inability to accept its significance. She wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment, in her sister’s arms.

Related Characters: Louise Mallard, Josephine
Related Symbols: Louise’s Weak Heart
Page Number: 217
Explanation and Analysis:
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Louise’s Weak Heart Symbol Timeline in The Story of an Hour

The timeline below shows where the symbol Louise’s Weak Heart 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”
Women in 19th-Century Society Theme Icon
Freedom and Independence Theme Icon
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Louise Mallard has a weak heart. Her sister Josephine, who is worried that bad news will overwhelm Louise and worsen her... (full context)
Women in 19th-Century Society Theme Icon
Freedom and Independence Theme Icon
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
Now Louise’s heart pulses faster and her blood rushes through her body, but this only relaxes her and... (full context)
Women in 19th-Century Society Theme Icon
Freedom and Independence Theme Icon
Love and Marriage Theme Icon
...When doctors later examine Louise’s body, they pronounce that she died because of her weak heart, “of joy that kills.” (full context)