Symbolisms and Irony in The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin

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Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” is about young a woman who is addressed by her married name, Mrs. Mallard, whose husband befalls a tragic death. Instead of being sad and full of despair for the rest of her young life she feels a very strong sense of relief because in all honesty she never liked the idea of not having free will in her marriage. As she sits in her room and thinks about her situation she only feels relieved, almost happy that her husband died because now she can live her life. However just when her life seemed to be going in a very positive direction Mr. Mallard turns up at the house, very much alive. Seeing her husband alive causes her such distress that she has a heart attack and dies immediately. The irony in this situation with the use of many distinct symbols, help establish the theme of the inherent oppressiveness of marriage. In order to understand the concept of oppressive marriages, one needs to understand how the use of figurative language and literary devices give depth to the themes of the story. The most common literary devices found in the short story is symbolism. Symbolism “is the use of symbols to signify meanings that are different from their literal sense” (Merriam Webster) Common examples of symbolism include “open window” symbols which signifies new freedom found by the protagonist and “darkness” which can either signify great evil in a characters heart, sadness and disease or death. Furthermore, the most common figurative language is Irony. Irony “is a figure of speech in which words are used in such a way that their intended meaning is different from the actual meaning of the words. It can also be a situation that may end up in quite a different way than what is generally anticipated” (L... ... middle of paper ... .... Finally the purpose in Kate Chopin writing this story is to show the audience that sometimes it’s ok to feel trapped because there is always a solution even if that solution happens to be death In Conclusion, the use of symbolism and irony really give depth to the to the conflicts and themes that Kate Chopin is trying to portray to the readers that take the initiative in trying to analyze her short story. The use of figurative language and literary devices gives literature like Kate Chopin’s the necessary flare that will help the reader come up with a deeper meaning to this story. Works Cited "The Story Of an Hour." SparkNotes. SparkNotes, n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2014. "Devices." Merriam-Webster. Merriam-Webster, n.d. Web. 09 Apr. 2014. "123TEL (International) Rates." 123TEL. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2014. "Trent Nation." Trent Nation. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2014.
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