Analysis Pages

Vocabulary in The Story of an Hour

Vocabulary Examples in The Story of an Hour:

The Story of an Hour

🔒 8

"her sister's importunities..."   (The Story of an Hour)

An “importunity” is an annoyingly urgent or persistent request. To call Louise’s sister’s requests that she open the door “importunities” is to say that she was somewhat annoyingly persistent.

"Her fancy was running riot..."   (The Story of an Hour)

When referring to thoughts, the verb phrase "to run riot" means that one's "fancy," or "imagination," is rapidly considering all possibilities without process or moderation. In other words, her imagination was running wild.

"goddess of Victory..."   (The Story of an Hour)

In ancient Greek mythology, Nike was the goddess of victory. Because references to Greek mythology are common in English literature, readers might guess that Chopin was thinking of Nike. Either way, to carry yourself like a goddess of Victory is to carry yourself triumphantly, and to do so “unwittingly” means to carry yourself triumphantly without knowing or without trying.

"feverish triumph..."   (The Story of an Hour)

The adjective "feverish" means that something is marked by intense emotion, which applies in this context. However, it can also refer to someone's having the symptoms of a fever: even in her moment of victory, readers are reminded that Louise is in poor health.

"What could love, the unsolved mystery, count for in face of this possession of self-assertion which she suddenly recognized as the strongest impulse of her being!..."   (The Story of an Hour)

Here, self-assertion means the ability to say (assert) one's desires. Personal freedom is what’s so important to Louise, valuing the possession of this self-assertion more highly than the love she had for her husband. It doesn’t matter to her whether she had loved him sometimes or had not. What matters is the freedom, which she describes as her own “strongest impulse.”

"exalted..."   (The Story of an Hour)

The adjective "exalted" means that Louise's perception is of a higher order, or very clear and noble. The connotations of the word suggest something like divine perception, which gives Louise clarity that the feeling is positive and not "monstrous."

"intelligent..."   (The Story of an Hour)

The suspension of “intelligent” thought here doesn’t mean that she is thinking unintelligently; rather, she isn’t consciously thinking anything—she’s staring blankly, vacantly, at the patch of blue sky. This detail creates a sense of anticipation: her thoughts have been suspended, which implies a pause that will eventually end.

"crying..."   (The Story of an Hour)

Louise isn’t the one crying in this sentence; the peddler is. In this context, “crying” means “crying out” or “calling out.” He is advertising the wares he has for sale.

Analysis Pages