Reader Response Essay

663 words - 3 pages

Erin Kennedy
21 January 21, 2013
Angela DiGualo
ENG125: Introduction to Literature (ADI1303A)

Reader-response approach was the best way to look at The Story of an Hour. I connected on different levels with the story of a woman who fell out of love with her husband. The short story is written with two tones one of somber and one of joy. The writer goes between the two and shows how one event can span different emotions.

The Story of an Hour is a wonderfully written short story that spoke to me. The two completely different tones of the piece drew me in. The story begins with a somber mood as the lady of the home is being told about the death of her husband. “She did not hear the story as many women have heard the same, with a paralyzed inability to accept its significance.” The tone in this sentence can be seen as somber, but it my also have a happy ...view middle of the document...

The drama in this short story grabbed my attention, the tones changed fast.

Reader-response approach looks at how a reader will connect with a piece of literature. The approach has several questions that can be answered to show a connection between the reader and the writing. Simple questions answer if a reader connects to a story. Clugston writes, “What captured my imagination? (16.2 2010) I connected to The Story of an Hour because of a past relationship. The love was gone, but not to the extreme of celebrating a life alone if he passed, but I could see Mrs. Mallard’s point. “Was it a feeling, an emotion, a curiosity, or an aspiration? In my case it was an emotion, I could feel how she felt, the loveless relationship that you are in because it is what is expected. The story brought me back to an old past love, we loved each other, but as the years passed we only went through the motions. Mrs. Mallard was clearly out of love by the way she reacted to her husband’s death. She took it as a new beginning for herself. Her new life was something I understood; the end of my relationship began my new life. I was free; the same free Mrs. Mallard was after the loss of her husband.

The short story has can be seen by many as a lesson. Living a life of sadness because you feel trapped. Many readers can relate to the feeling of a failed relationship and the need to stay in it because it is expected. The desire to leave the relationship can take over all thoughts as it did for Mrs. Mallard. She only paused for a moment after learning about the death of her husband. The escape that she and many in her situation was exhilarating. She saw past the death and only thought of her new freedom. The reading connected me back to my past and the need to get out of a relationship that had ended years before.

Clugston, R. W. (2010) Journey into Literature Retrieved from

Khatib, S. (2011). Applying the Reader-Response Approach in Teaching English Short Stories to EFL Students. Journal Of Language Teaching And Research, 2(1), 151-159

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