The Irony of life and death in Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour”
Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour” which is a very short story is infused with an immense amount of irony and foreshadowing that somehow hints to the ending of the story before you even get to the first paragraphs end. The main character Mrs. Mallard has a deeply inflicted heart of being the oppressed subject of her husband’s wrath that ironically takes her life at the end of the story.
After reading the short story many times I found that irony is present at the very opening of the story. Mrs. Mallard’s sister Josephine is the one who very delicately had to inform her sister that her husband has suddenly died while suppressing her own concern for Mrs. Mallard’s heart...
Mallard retrieved suggests that it had always been her lonely space. The very familiar, soft and comfortable chair facing the open window also depicts an habitual movement of Mrs. Mallards daily events “ There stood, facing the open window, a comfortable, roomy armchair. Into this she sank, pressed down by a physical exhaustion that haunted her body and seemed to reach in her soul” (67). The fact that she sank into the chair gives a sense of familiarity and ownership. This movement seems to predict her every day habits.
Although the room seems so lonely and dark as she peers out the window the most beautiful scenes come to her. Blue patches seem to take their place through the clouds suggesting a way out. A person seems to be singing and birds are present which give you a sense of life, happiness and freedom.
The nuances of irony add to the riches of “ The Story of the Hour” because they are all based around her failing heart. In such a short period of time Mrs. Mallard experienced so many emotions such as the shock and horror of the initial news of her husbands death. The feeling of guilt at the joy she felt from his demise. Yet, the most detrimental was the shock and surprise when her husband walked through the front door and in an instant she realized that her dreams of freedom where all but a dream. In the end her troubled heart just couldn’t withstand all of these...
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