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11 April 2013
A New Version of ‘Free at Last’
Kate Chopin was a very important author during the nineteenth century. Her writing was criticized for much of her lifetime; it emphasized women’s rights, freedom from servitude, and need for independence. Her work, “The Story of an Hour”, like many others supports these ideals. In Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour”, the author uses irony, tone, imagery, and characterization effectively to help support a theme of the importance of independence. In “The Story of an Hour” Kate Chopin uses irony to help reveal the theme of the importance of independence. An example of irony would be when Mrs. Mallard’s sister tells her that by being in her room she will “make herself ill”. Mrs. Mallard is actually happy about her husband’s death, and the corresponding independence she received with it, helping to support the theme. Another example is one of dramatic irony, at the climax of the story, at which time Brently Mallard is revealed to be alive. Just moments before, his wife was telling herself that she was “Free! Body and soul free!” The doctor, however, said that she had died “of joy that kills”. The reality of the situation is that Mrs. Mallard was shocked that her husband was alive, and it was misinterpreted as joy. The irony of the situation is that the only happiness she had was at the thought of her freedom, and it was taken away from her as swiftly as it had come. The use of irony in Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” helps support the work’s theme of the importance of independence. Chopin’s use of a critical tone towards Mr. Mallard (and in a way, men in general) helps to support the theme of the importance of independence. The author says that whether or not a person has “a kind intention or a cruel intention”, pressuring another to do something “no less of a crime”. This shows that she strongly supports freedom of will, and also helps to support the theme. In addition,...
Cited: Chopin, Kate. "The Story of an Hour." Read, Reason, Write: An Argument Text and Reader. 10th ed. Dorothy Seyler. McGraw-Hill: Ney York, NY, 2012. 569-571. Print.
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