Story of an Hour

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Chan Kim
8-25-11
Per: 7
Mrs. Akamine

“The Story of an Hour” Irony Essay
The beauty of a literary work lies in its effective use of figurative language. Irony is one of the most versatile of literary elements, and it plays a very important role in "The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin. Situational irony is used to show the reader that something that is not expected happens in the plot. Dramatic irony is used to clue the reader in, on something that is happening that the characters in the story do not know about. Both situational and dramatic irony have been used effectively in, “The Story of an Hour” in order to add color to the story and to make it more interesting and captivating.

Situational irony is used effectively in "The Story of an Hour" through Mrs. Mallard's reaction to her husband's death and the description of the settings around her at this time. On hearing the news of her husband's death, Mrs. Mallard was incredibly sad. She insisted upon being alone and retreated to her room. This sort of reaction is typical to someone who had just lost a loved one. She experienced grief and shock. However, once she is alone in her room, the reader discovers the other side of her emotions. This is the situational irony in the story. The way in which the lady whispers "Free, free, free" (Chopin) makes the reader realize that she is not having a typical reaction. Instead of being saddened by the loss of her husband, Mrs. Mallard is relieved.

Similarly, dramatic irony is seen towards the end of the story. On seeing her husband alive, Mrs. Mallard dies of shock. The doctor informs that she died of heart disease – “the joy that kills” (Chopin); however, the reader is aware what she experienced is far from joy. She was feeling free and joyous when she heard of her husband’s death, and when she realizes that he is alive she dies of shock. The rest of the characters in the story misinterpret the incident to be caused by extreme happiness, the reality however is...
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