Words are not limited to one single meaning. Most words have multiple meanings, which are categorized as either denotative or connotative.
The denotation of a word is its explicit definition as listed in a dictionary. The expressiveness of language, however, comes from the other type of word meaning—connotation, or the association or set of associations that a word usually brings to mind. In Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” there are many examples of connotation and symbolism for example the denotation of the word Mallard: The name of a wild duck, associated with the male ducks.Could be a symbol for the subconscious will that man and women control each-other with that Chopin describes. Storm of grief: This refers to the way Chopin describes Mrs. Mallard’s reaction to the news of her husband’s death. This relates her feelings to the weather.
Death of Mr. Mallard vs. Description of new spring life: Spring is usually associated with life and birth, however, Chopin sets Mr. Mallard’s death against spring. This could mean that Brently’s death was a rebirth for Mrs. Mallard and she could be free. As a child who had cried itself to sleep continues to sob in its dreams” vs.
“Like a goddess of Victory”: This description of Mrs. Mallard’s change in feelings after accepting Brently’s death indicates that according to the story now that she is an individual she is in control of her life. Abrupt ending and description of Mrs. Mallard’s death: This could be used to leave the reader questioning the story or could be an indication that the author feels that without freedom from the control of Brently Mrs.Mallard is better off dead. There is connotation in the fact she had died from heart disease. She did die from a heart attack on a denotation standpoint, but could it have been that her heart was crushed after being filled with the joy of freedom and her life head of her.
This destruction of freedom she had come to realize and welcome was attacked crushing her heart. A full appreciation of the story requires detective work, but the work involved does not go unrewarded.