Kate Chopin’s The Story of an Hour
“She breathed a quick prayer that life might be long. It was only yesterday she had thought with a shudder that life might be long.” This quote from the passage plays a huge impact on the meaning of this short story especially when it is paired with the last line, “When the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease--of the joy that kills.” These two sentences pair beautifully because it helps the reader grasp the full sense of irony and emotion portrayed in the passage. The passage builds up to this first quote mentioned. It is the peak of the story. There is this glimpse into one small part of this hour of Mrs. Mallard’s life where she has discovered this newfound freedom. This freedom away from her husband where she can be happy and live life how she has always imagined. At this very line she finally sees life worth living and she brings the reader along for the ride emotionally. Then right at the very end with the last line it is all suddenly taken away from Mrs. Mallard in a wonderful sense of irony. The irony that the reader knows she did not die of overwhelming joy that her heart just couldn’t handle but everyone else in the passage thinks she does. The reader knows she died from shock from the fact that she would have to go back to living her old life, a life where she did not feel free. Yet again the reader is filled with all this emotion which is Kate Chopin’s true feat. The style and word choice the passage uses allows the reader to feel all the emotions Mrs. Mallard goes through during her final hour, from pure happiness to death.
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