Irony and imagery in Kate Chopin’s “Story of an hour”

1 January 2018

In Kate Chopin’s short story “The story of an hour,” Chopin’s tells a story about women, Mrs.Mallard who has just discovered that her husband recently passed away due to an accident that same day. It is expected of Mrs.Millard to become saddened by the news of her husband’s death, instead, she felt relieved rather than upset over the loss of her husband. Throughout the story Chopin’s explains the abnormal emotions Mrs.Millard felt towards her husband, she does so use literary devices such as Irony and Imagery.

“The story of an hour” was written in a time period where women didn’t have much power or say in anything that went on. Women were expected to stay home with the children and take care of all the responsibilities in the house, while the husbands went out and worked. Mrs.Mallard decided to spend an hour sitting in her “comfortable, roomy armchair”, in which she experiences what she’s always wanted happiness and freedom. The armchair symbolizes the rest from the oppressive life she had and freedom from society’s expectations.

Chopin’s uses irony in the story when she describes how worried Josephine is of Mrs.Mallard after she locks herself in her room, fearing she would make herself ill when she is actually ecstatic of the news and she begins to envision how wonderful her life is gonna be without her husband in the future repeating to herself, “free, free, free!”.(15) Mrs. Mallard has a positive view of her surroundings once she retreats to her room, she looks out the window and describes the world as warm and friendly, it is obvious that her surroundings are a reflection of her true feelings towards her husband’s death. She could see the tree’s describing them as beautiful, hears birds chirping and singing welcoming a new beginning, even if that was so you would expect her to see the world as dark and gloomy because of the sadness she should be feeling.”There were patches of blue sky showing here and there through the clouds”.

The irony of “Story of an hour” would be Mrs.Mallard’s sudden death towards the end of the story, the doctor says that she had died of shock once she sees her husband walk through the door describing it as “joy that kills” but the reader knows that, that is not true at all. Mrs.Mallard dies because she is disappointed to find out that her husband was actually alive.

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