Irony is a key element in “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin. The story is full of unexpected twists and turns that keep the reader guessing. The most ironic moment in the story comes at the end, when Mrs. Mallard learns that her husband is not dead after all. This news comes as a shock to her, but it also brings relief and happiness. In this moment, the reader realizes that Mrs. Mallard’s true feelings about her marriage were not what they seemed.
Although Mrs. Mallard appears to be a victim of circumstance at first, it becomes clear that she is actually quite strong-willed and capable of making her own decisions. This is evident in the way she reacts to the news of her husband’s death. Mrs. Mallard does not immediately break down in tears or show any signs of distress. Instead, she retreats to her room and allows herself to feel the full range of emotions that come with being widowed.
It is only when Mrs. Mallard hears that her husband is alive that she shows any sign of weakness. The news comes as such a shock to her that she collapses and dies of heart failure. This final twist is ironic because it reveals that Mrs. Mallard’s true feelings about her marriage were not what they seemed. In the end, it is clear that she was not as content in her marriage as she pretended to be.
There are several types of irony, such as basic irony, which is the use of language to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning. Situational irony occurs when a character’s behavior has the exact opposite effect than what was intended. Finally, there is dramatic irony, which occurs when there is a disconnect between the reader’s knowledge and that of the characters in a story. However, situational irony happens most frequently in Kate Chopin’s short tale “The Story of an Hour.”
The story’s title is also ironic because it’s not really a story; it’s more like a snippet of a woman’s life. The story is about a woman, Louise Mallard, who finds out that her husband has died in a train accident.
At first she is heartbroken but then she begins to feel liberated and free. She thinks about all of the things she can now do without her husband holding her back. She starts to daydream about her future and what it will be like without him. However, it turns out that he was not on the train after all and he comes home alive. When Louise sees him she has a heart attack and dies.
The ironic part is that she died of happiness, which is the opposite of what most people would expect. The story is full of situational irony because everything that Louise thinks is going to happen, happens but in the opposite way. The title is also ironic because it’s not really a story, it’s more like a snippet of a woman’s life. The story is only a few pages long but it packs a big punch. It shows how quickly things can change and how one event can have such a huge impact on someone’s life.
Mrs. Mallard’s reaction to her husband’s death in “The Story of an Hour” is a good example of situational irony. When she first learnt of her husband’ s demise, Mrs. Mallard “wept immediately, with raucous, uncontrolled sobs” (Chopin 1). Everyone in the household assumed she was grief-stricken and went upstairs to be alone in her room because this is generally how people react when they have just lost a loved one.
What they did not know was that she was actually happy. The reason why she was so happy was because now she had the freedom that she always wanted. She would no longer have to be tied down by her husband and could do whatever she pleased.
Later on, after Mrs. Mallard had some time to think about her husband’s death, she began to feel differently. She started to realize that she might not be as free as she thought she was. Even though her husband is gone, his presence is still felt throughout the house. She knows that his spirit will always be with her and that she will never truly be free. The irony in this story is that Mrs. Mallard gains her freedom through her husband’s death but also realizes that she will never be truly free.
After she is left alone in her chamber, Chopin wants the reader to observe that she is not depressed by the death of her spouse, but rather relieved. “When she gave herself up a little murmured word escaped her slightly parted lips. She said it over and over again beneath her breath: “free, free, free!”” (Chopin 1)
The relief Mrs. Mallard feels is ironic considering most people would feel grief after hearing their spouse had died. The biggest irony in the story is Mrs. Mallard’s death at the end. The joy she felt from being free suddenly turns into fear when she realizes her husband is not dead and coming up the stairs.
The shock of seeing him alive causes Mrs. Mallard to have a heart attack and die. If Mrs. Mallard had not been so quick to believe her husband was dead, she may have been able to enjoy her newfound freedom. Irony is often used by authors to create suspense or add humor to a story, but in “The Story of an Hour” it is used to show how quickly feelings can change and how easy it is to be misled.
Despite the fact that Mrs. Mallard is “free” from her marriage, it does not imply she did not love her spouse, as she looks out of an open window through which she gazes. She sees blue sky, fluffy clouds, and trees instead of being dark and sorrowful to suggest how one would expect her to feel.
The image that she sees also reflects how she feels on the inside which is free and liberated. The open window also symbolizes Mrs. Mallard’s future and what is in store for her. The story concludes with a shocking twist, as it is revealed that Mrs. Mallard’s husband was not killed in the train accident after all, and she dies of a heart attack upon seeing him alive. The irony in this story lies in the fact that Mrs. Mallard gains her freedom only to lose her life in the end.