In the short story “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin, the reader is introduced to Louise Mallard, the wife of Brently Mallard who supposedly died in a train accident. The story uses multiple literary devices such as irony, conflict and symbolism to convey Mrs. Mallard’s emotions within the hour that she discovers the sudden death of her husband.
Writer Kate Chopin uses different types of irony to emphasize Mrs. Mallard’s true feelings about her husband’s death, her marriage, and her life. Irony is defined as “The expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect” ("Irony Definition."). Chopin uses dramatic irony to provide the reader with additional information when compared to the characters. Chopin writes, “When the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease - of joy that kills” (Chopin). This was the main example of dramatic irony from the story. The characters in the story believe and agree with the Doctor that Mrs. Mallard died due to an excess of happiness from seeing her husband alive and well. On the other hand, the reader knows that Mrs. Mallard didn’t die of an overload of joy but died due to the shock, disappointment, fear and possible guilt of seeing her presumably dead husband alive. In addition to dramatic irony, the writer also uses situational irony to provide an element of surprise and to add complexity to the plot. In the very beginning of the story we discover that Mr. Mallard had died, although as the story ends it turns out that Mrs. Mallard is the one who actually died. Chopin adds situational irony to this aspect of the story’s storyline to create a plot twist and surprise or ...
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...ould marry, have children and take care of the house as this was what was expected and acceptable by society at the time. Mrs. Mallard, now without a husband can live her life not held back and restricted by these social expectations and social conformities, she is now free.
In “The Story of an Hour” the author used many literary devices to convey Mrs. Mallard’s emotions over the presumed death of her husband. The author used both dramatic and situational irony to mislead the reader and surprise them with a plot twist ending. By utilizing both external and internal conflict the author expresses the internal debate of Mrs. Mallard’s true feelings and those of the people around her. The author used symbolism to display Mrs. Mallard’s desire for freedom from her marriage. In the end it was not joy that killed Mrs. Mallard but the realization that she lost her freedom.
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