The Story of an Hour: Irony

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  • Topic: Death, Life, 1995 novels
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  • Published : October 8, 1999
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The Story of An Hour: Irony

In Kate Chopin's short story "The Story of an Hour," there is much irony. The first irony detected is in the way that Louise reacts to the news of the death of her husband, Brently Mallard. Before Louise's reaction is revealed, Chopin alludes to how the widow feels by describing the world according to her perception of it after the "horrible" news.

Louise is said to "not hear the story as many women have heard the same." Rather, she accepts it and goes to her room to be alone. Now the reader starts to see the world through Louise's eyes, a world full of new and pure life.

In her room, Louise sinks into a comfortable chair and looks out her window. Immediately the image of comfort seems to strike a odd note. One reading this story should question the use of this word " comfortable" and why Louise is not beating the furniture instead. Next, the newly widowed women is looking out of the window and sees spring and all the new life it brings.

The descriptions used now are as far away from death as possible. "The delicios breath of rain...the notes of a distant song...countless sparrows were twittering...patches of blue sky...." All these are beautiful images of life , the reader is quite confused by this most unusual foreshadowing until Louise's reaction is explained.

The widow whispers "Free, free, free!" Louise realizes that her husband had loved her, but she goes on to explain that as men and women often inhibit eachother, even if it is done with the best of intentions, they exert their own wills upon eachother. She realized that although at times she had loved him, she has regained her freedom, a state of beeing that all of G-d's creatures strive for.

Although this reaction is completely unexpected, the reader quickly accepts it because of Louise's adequate explanation. She grows excited and begins to fantasize about living her life for herself. With this realization, she wishes that "life might be long," and...
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