Now her bosom rose and fell tumultuously. She was beginning to recognize this thing that was approaching to possess her, and she was striving to beat it back with her will--as powerless as her two white slender hands would have been. When she abandoned herself a little whispered word escaped her slightly parted lips. She said it over and over under the breath: "free, free, free!" The vacant stare and the look of terror that had followed it went from her eyes. They stayed keen and bright. Her pulses beat fast, and the coursing blood warmed and relaxed every inch of her body.
“This astonishing story strongly indicates that the sudden success which [the publication in 1894 of] Bayou Folk brought Kate Chopin was of crucial importance in the author’s own self-fulfillment. It gave her a certain release from what she evidently felt as repression or frustration, thereby freeing forces that had lain dormant in her. It is highly significant that she wrote ‘The Story of an Hour,’ an extreme example of the theme of self-assertion, at the exact moment when the first reviews of the book had both satisfied and increased her secret ambitions.” Per Seyersted