Literary Elements in The Story of an Hour
In Kate Chopin’s short story, “The Story of an Hour” she uses different kinds of literary elements to clearly define her story and to show all of the meanings behind what happens in the story. There are many different kinds of literary elements used in this short story but I believe the most important one is irony. Irony is what she used the most throughout the story all the way into the conclusion which was by the far what gave the story a tragic and ironic ending. If she did not use all of the literary elements that were used in this story then the story would not be a whole and it wouldn’t all come together and make sense. It would be more dull and completely uninteresting and confusing. The literary elements used in this short story help make it surprisingly unpredictable and help it all come together in the end. If you took irony out of the story then there would literally be no point to the story. It would just be a boring thing to read with an ending that’s predictable and dull. The only surprising thing to this story which gave it a little bit of livelihood was the ending and if that wasn’t such an ironic part of the story then this wouldn’t even be considered a short story it would just be two pages of dull reading.
This short story is about a woman named Mrs. Mallard who just finds out that her husband had been tragically killed in a train crash. She finds out from her sister Josephine and her husband’s friend Richards. She has great heart trouble and once she finds out she just sinks into a chair and falls into a state of mind where she is just acknowledging what she had just heard. She doesn’t know if she should be happy or sad because she felt free but at the same time also heartbroken. He apparently wasn’t the greatest husband but she doesn’t feel like she can go on without him. She looked outside and noticed all of the nature and the new life she would live. She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life (Chopin 659). In this part of the story it talks about her noticing nature and the new spring life that was ahead of her. The spring life is supposed to represent her new free life without her husband. So metaphorically her noticing the spring life is her realizing that she has a whole new life by herself calmly and freely. Without using the spring life as symbolism then viewers would just read this and think that she’s so upset she is noticing the great things about her life and the new weather is one of them. Since symbolism is used this whole part of the short story has a whole new view point. It secretly reveals that she’s realizing she has a whole new happy free life without her husband. It tells you that he wasn’t a good husband and she really didn’t love him. For the viewers that didn’t know about the symbolism being used they just thought she was really upset and looking outside when secretly she is actually happy and noticing her new life. It’s the elements like this that reveal the hidden meanings and make totally different viewpoints on the story.
In the very first sentence Kate Chopin gives away two very important parts of the story. You find out that Louise has a heart condition and you find out about the death of her husband. This sentence is what grabs the attention of the audience. Right away she gets the attention of the audience and uses irony right in the beginning. In Robert Evan’s article, “Literary Contexts in Short Stories: Kate Chopin’s The Story of an Hour”, he talks about how the opening sentence is very important not only because it grabs the attention, but it also give away two ironic plot details. With stylistic efficiency, Kate Chopin introduces her central character (Mrs. Louise Mallard) and two crucial plot details (Louise's heart condition, and the very recent death of her husband) in the story's abrupt, attention-grabbing opening...
Cited: Chopin, Kate. “The Story of an Hour.” Making Literature Matter: An Anthology for Readers and Writers. Ed. John Schilb and John Clifford. 4th ed. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin 's, 2009. 659-660. Print.
Evans, Robert C. "Literary Contexts in Short Stories: Kate Chopin 's "The Story of an Hour." Literary Contexts in Short Stories: Kate Chopin 's 'The Story of an Hour ' (2006): 1. Literary Reference Center. EBSCO. Web. 27 Feb. 2011.
Jamil, S. Selina. "Emotions in the Story of an Hour." Explicator 67.3 (2009): 215-220. Literary Reference Center. EBSCO. Web. 27 Feb. 2011.
Geni Williams, et al. "Diverse Responses to Kate Chopin 's "The Story of an Hour.." Close Readings: Analyses of Short Fiction (2001): 85. Literary Reference Center. EBSCO. Web. 28 Feb. 2011.
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