Irony in the “Story of an Hour”
By Kate Choplin
The Story of an Hour by Kate Choplin is about an older woman who struggles with coercion brought about by her husband and her surreptitious yearning for freedom. Mrs. Mallard does not truly know how miserable she was until she finds out that her husband has died in a terrible train accident. Kate Choplin writes this story in a limited, third person point of view; however, it is still quite exciting with how it was structured. Choplin expresses her theme of oppression with her extensive use of situational irony and symbolism throughout the story. In The Story of an Hour, Kate Choplin makes much use of situational irony and symbolism, this helps add to the drama an excitement of the short story, especially since she wrote it as a limited, third person narrative. Choplin starts the story out by mentioning that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with heart complications and that an immense amount of care needs to be taken to break this heart wrenching news of her husband’s horrible death with ease. Josephine, Mrs. Mallard’s sister, and Richards, her husband’s friend, broke the news to her in broken sentences to try and soften the blow. Josephine and Richards thought that this would really hurt Mrs. Mallard, but she did not take it as most people would have. Louise immediately started to cry, but suddenly stormed off into her room, alone, she wanted no one to follow. The irony in this first part of the story stands in her heart troubles. The heart, in a traditional sense, represents one’s emotional core, the irony stands in that, her heart problems are a symbol for her emotional conflictions in her marriage. The irony in the mentioning of her heart problems is also that, the heart of a family and a marriage lies in that the relationship between man and woman is the essential groundwork of a family. Mrs. Mallard’s heart tribulations coincide with the peril in which the late...
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