Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” in Real-Time! A Brazilian Man Walks in on His Own Funeral!

For the story’s brevity, emotional accessibility, and ironic shock value, it seems customary nowadays for English instructors to start introductory literature courses with Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour.” Chopin’s story is about a man who has died in an accident—or at least so it seems. It turns out that, in fact, the man was far from the scene of the accident, and when he walks in on those mourning him you can imagine the stir that it causes.

In any case, Chopin’s story appears to have happened in “real-time” in Brazil on Monday. Here’s the AP lead:

RIO DE JANEIRO – A Brazilian bricklayer reportedly killed in a car crash shocked his mourning family by showing up alive at his funeral. Relatives of Ademir Jorge Goncalves, 59, had identified him as the victim of a Sunday night car crash in Parana state in southern Brazil, police said. As is customary in Brazil, the funeral was held the following day, which happened to be the holiday of Finados, when Brazilians visit cemeteries to honor the dead.

The man, it turns out, had “spent the night at a truck stop talking with friends over drinks of a sugarcane liquor known as cachaca, his niece Rosa Sampaio told the O Globo newspaper. He did not get word about his own funeral until it was already happening Monday morning.”

Do you suppose that everyone at the funeral was glad to see him?


If you go to YouTube you can find student renditions of Kate Chopin’s short story. I thought that this one was the best of the lot, but (as is usual of literature turned to film) the story itself is far more interesting than the movie spin-offs:

About Santi Tafarella

I teach writing and literature at Antelope Valley College in California.
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2 Responses to Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” in Real-Time! A Brazilian Man Walks in on His Own Funeral!

  1. I am sincerely flattered you have referenced my student film.

    • Santi Tafarella says:

      I like the way you added the tic-toc of the clock as a kind of symbol of the girl’s frail heart ticker.

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