‘The Story of an Hour’ by Kate Chopin

I’ve taught this early feminist piece many times, mostly to adolescent boys, who appreciate all of the twists and the way Chopin manipulates the reader’s emotions as the tone shifts. The narrative drives to its pitch-perfect ending: “When the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease—of joy that kills.” 

First published in Vogue, December 6, 1894. Widely collected, including in The Awakening and Other Stories, Oxford World’s Classics. Available to read online at katechopin.org