Her short stories were well received in in the 1890s and were published by some of America’s most prestigious magazines— Vogue , the Atlantic Monthly , Harper’s Young People , the Youth’s Companion , and the Century . A few stories were syndicated by the American Press Association. Many of her stories also appeared in her two published collections, Bayou Folk (1894) and A Night in Acadie (1897), both of which received good reviews from critics across the country who praised them for their graceful descriptions of the lives of Creoles, Acadians, African-Americans, and other people in Louisiana. Twenty-six of her stories are children’s stories—those published in or intended for children’s or family magazines—the Youth’s Companion and others. By the late 1890s Kate Chopin was well known among American readers of magazine fiction.
To unify the story under a central theme, Chopin both begins and ends with a statement about Louise Mallard's heart trouble, which turns out to have both a physical and a mental component. In the first paragraph of "The Story of an Hour," Chopin uses the term "heart trouble" primarily in a medical sense, but over the course of the story, Mrs. Mallard's presumed frailty seems to be largely a result of psychological repression rather than truly physiological factors. The story concludes by attributing Mrs. Mallard's death to heart disease, where heart disease is "the joy that kills." This last phrase is purposefully ironic, as Louise must have felt both joy and extreme disappointment at Brently's return, regaining her husband and all of the loss of freedom her marriage entails. The line establishes that Louise's heart condition is more of a metaphor for her emotional state than a medical reality.