Irony In The Story Of An Hour

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In Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour,” the author presents an omniscient observer’s view of the last hour of Mrs. Louise Mallard. The main character is presented as a woman of delicate health who learns of her husband’s death in a railway accident. Her sister, Josephine and her husband’s friend, Richards are also present. Upon hearing the news, Mrs. Mallard goes to her room and secretly celebrates her newfound freedom. She later learns that her husband has not died, and she drops dead, supposedly from “the joys that kills” (328). A careful reading show that Mrs. Mallard has not died of joy, but of the loss of joy. Chopin’s use of irony is very important to our appreciation of the story.
The use of irony is apparent throughout the story. Mrs. Mallard dies
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Mallard leaves the solitude of her room with the open window that symbolizes new life. Upon leaving the freedom of her room she is now exposed to the outside world and life is not what she thinks because someone is outside her door with a key. Chopin really ties in the irony from the beginning with the end of the story. Richards was “too late “to block the view of Brentley for Mrs. Mallard however he “hastened” (326) to brings his sad new at the start of the story. Inadvertently ending her life within an hour and also giving her a chance to really live for at least an hour.
The most striking example irony in this story is the fact that while Mr. Mallard is presumed dead his wife fully comes alive. When she finally comes out her room with triumph ready to live a long life it is the sight of her husband alive that kills her. People in her life thinks she so overjoyed to see her husband it damages her weak heart while we the reader know she dies from seeing her new lease on life slip away as her husband walks through the door. Kate Chopin use of irony makes this story interesting and dynamic while giving a view of constraints of marriage for a Victorian woman in the late
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