Irony in "The Story of an Hour"

Topics: Irony, Short story, Fiction Pages: 3 (908 words) Published: November 25, 2014
Emely Estevez

Professor Esposito

November 6 2014

English 101

There are many types of irony such as basic irony which is the use of word to convey a meaning that is opposite of its literal meaning. Situational irony which is the moment a characters actions have the opposite of their intended effect. Finally there is dramatic irony which occurs when there is a contrast between the readers knowledge and the knowledge of the characters in the work. However situational irony is what mostly transpires in Kate Chopin short story "The Story of an Hour"

Situational irony is used in "The Story of an Hour" through Mrs. Mallard's reaction to her husband's death. When she first heard the news of her husband's death, Mrs. Mallard, "wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment" (Chopin, 1). Everyone in the house thought that she was upset and went upstairs to be alone in her room because this is a common reaction after having just lost a loved one. Although once Mrs. Mallard is alone in her room, Chopin wants the reader to witness that she is not saddened by the loss of her husband but relieved, "When she abandoned herself a little whispered word escaped her slightly parted lips. She said it over and over under her breath: "free, free, free!"" (Chopin, 1) Although Mrs. Mallard is "free" from her marriage that does not mean that she did not love her husband, as she looks through the open window from which she gazes represents freedom and opportunities. Instead of being dark and full of grief to symbolize how one would expect her to feel, she sees patches of blue sky, fluffy clouds and treetops. She also hears singing of birds and smells a rainstorm coming. Chopin signifies this as new beginning for Mrs. Mallard. Everything that she experiences through her time of "mourning" suggests joy and a new life that awaits her. She is expected to mourn her husband's death, but she is thinking about her new life "There would be no one to live for her during those coming...

Cited: Chopin, Kate. "The Story of an Hour." Katechopin.org Kate Chopin International Society, April 19, 1894. Web. 1 Nov. 2014.
2. Berkove, Lawrence I. American Literary Realism, Vol. 32, No. 2 : Fatal Self-Assertion in Kate Chopin 's "The Story of an Hour." Jstor.org. 2000. Web. 1 Nov. 2014
3. Ewell, Barbara C. "Chopin and the Dream of Female Selfhood: Kate chopin Reconsidered" Jstor.org. 2000. Web. 1 Nov. 2014
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