The Ironic Things Of Life In Kate Chopin's The Story Of An Hour

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The Ironic Things of Life in Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour”

Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” is a masterpiece of the technique of irony; even the title is ironic in that so much that is unexpected happens in the life of Louise Mallard in just an hour. This short story takes place in the late nineteenth century, in the home of Mr. And Mrs. Mallard. Chopin deliberately chooses this setting to express a longing for personal freedom. There are three styles of irony that show contrast in this short story. The three styles of irony that Kate Chopin uses are situational, verbal, and dramatic.
Since irony always involves an incongruity, situational irony is one in which the expectation and fulfillment are not what is expected. Perhaps,
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This type of irony is when a statement means the opposite of what it appears to mean. While Chopin’s story has several instances of verbal irony, one example is Chopin’s use of “heart of trouble” (57) at the beginning of the narrative. It seems that the phrase indicates a physical ailment, but Chopin does not intend for “heart” to represent the organ of the body. Instead, the reader later discerns, “heart” suggest the figurative heart, that is, the soul. Mrs. Louise Mallard suffers from repression, a trouble of the soul. Also, another example of verbal irony used in this short story is when Mr. Mallard enters the house, Richards tried to conceal him from Mrs. Mallard, but “Richards was too late” (58). In contrast, almost at the beginning of the narrative, Richards “hastened” (57) to bring his sad message; if he had at the beginning been “too late” (58), Bently Mallard would have arrived at home first, and Mrs. Mallard’s life would simply have continued on as it had before. Yet another irony exist towards the end of the story is the diagnosis of the doctors. The doctors said she died of “heart disease - of joy that kills” (58). In one sense the doctors are right. For the last hour, Mrs. Mallard experienced a great joy. However, the doctors totally misunderstand the joy that kills her. It is not joy at seeing her husband alive, but her realization that the great joy she experienced during her …show more content…
For example, when Louise will not allow Josephine to help her upstairs. When the “storm of grief” (57) had spent itself she went away to her room “alone” (57). However, unbeknownst to the character Josephine, the reader learns that Louise Mallard wishes to be alone, so that she can fully comprehend her freedom from repression as a Victorian wife. “She sat with her head thrown back upon the cushion of the chair, quite motionless” (57). “There was something coming to her and she was waiting for it, fearfully” (58). “She said it over and over under her breath: “Free, free, free!”” (57). Instead of grieving as her sister believes, Mrs. Mallard rejoices in her new freedom. Since only the reader is privy to this knowledge and the character Josephine and later, her husband does not know her feelings, dramatic irony exists. Indeed, it is the masterful use of irony in her very short story that gives Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” such powerful implications. Chopin displays the situational, verbal, and dramatic irony in this short story to keep the reader entertained and interested. Chopin also shows that women during this time, didn 't have any rights as a married woman, but widows had some freedom and rights. Therefore, that completely explains her excitement and usage of irony throughout this short

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