Irony And Symbolism In Kate Chopin's The Story Of An Hour

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It was a beautiful warm, sunny day in June. In the story “The Lottery,” it was anything but a typical day. The villagers gathered in the center of town, the grass was green and the flowers were blooming. All seemed fair while the townsfolk gathered to prepare for the yearly tradition of the lottery. In “The Story of an Hour,” Louise Mallard relates that the sky is blue, there are people singing in the distance, and the birds were twittering. Consequently, she too was unaware of what was about to transpire in this single hour of her life. The narrator in each tale lead you to believe there was nothing furthermore out of the ordinary to arise. In these narratives, the strong use of irony and symbolism help to convey the element of surprise. …show more content…
Right from the beginning, we are made aware that Mrs. Mallard suffers from a heart condition. She is a woman from the late 1800s, so when we reflect on that time period, we recognize that woman struggled with being treated as “Functional wives”. Oppressed, lonely, emotional, and with no rights, many women of that era did not have much of an independent existence. Therefore, when Louise Mallard learns of her husband’s death she weeps, but not out of typical sorrow and grief. Ironically, she actually sheds tears because she finally feels that she is free and is exhilarated with the ideas of her independence. “When she abandoned herself a little whispers word escaped her slightly parted lips. She said it over and over under her breath: Free Free, Free!”(Chopin par. …show more content…
Mallard’s dear friend Josephine, who waits outside her bedroom door, is worried that Louise will make herself ill. Louise is breathing in all the emotions of finally feeling alive for the first time. Referencing to her heart the narrator expresses the excitement of that particular moment. “Her pulses beat fast, and the coursing blood warmed and relaxed every inch of her body.”(Chopin par. 10) With an astonishing ironic twist, we learn that not only does Mr. Mallard walk into the home, alive and well, but as he enters and Mrs. Mallard beholds him, she drops dead. In this dramatic conclusion, the story ends with an ironic sentence, “When the doctors came, they said she had died of heart disease--of the joy that kills”. (Chopin par. 20) The open window in this tragedy represents many things. As Louise enters her room to grieve, she sees the open window. “She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life. The delicious breath of rain was in the air. In the street below a peddler was crying his wares. The notes of a distant song which someone was singing reached her faintly, and countless sparrows were twittering in the eaves”.(Chopin par. 5) Through the open window, Louise glimpses into her future. This symbolizes her longing for freedom. She tries to resist the emotions welling up inside her, “She was beginning to recognize this thing that was approaching to possess her, and she was striving

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