Background and the General Theme
Kate Chopin’s The Story of an Hour is a wonderful masterpiece story featuring Mrs. Louise, her husband Brendly, her sister Josephine, and Richards (her husband’s friend) as the main characters. The scene takes place at Mr. Brendly Mallard’s house. Louise is informed by Richards and Josephine that her husband has succumbed to a railroad accident. Because of her underlying heart condition, the message is broken into half concealing truths. The news is devastating to her and she weeps in Josephine’s hands. Afterward, she decides to have privacy and locks herself in her room. While processing the news in her room, she experiences another feeling of relief which is too much for her to admit. It comes from the pleasure of independence which had been clouded when her husband was present. While in this moment, the utters the word “free” repeatedly to affirm that freedom was what she had longed for in her entire married life. Her emotions are overwhelmed to the extent that she makes a prayer for longevity to experience the feeling of this independence. While at this moment, the atmosphere around her changes. She maintains a relaxed sitting posture while her head rests on the cushion of her chair. In her gaze, she begins to realize the nature of her environment. For instance, while looking from her open window, she observes scenes such as the blue color of the sky and a peddler carrying wares. However, the turning point from her new world comes to an end when Josephine coaxes her to join her. Brently opens the door while she comes downstairs. On seeing him, she succumbs to the heart condition due to shock. Richards’ quick reaction of shielding Louise from seeing Brently could not save her.
The irony in the Story
Irony is the aspect that used words to explain an unexpected turn of events in a story. In The Story of an Hour, there are three main categories of ironical occurrences namely situational, dramatic, and verbal. In this discussion, each type of irony is analyzed and the evidence from Kate Chopin’s work is illustrated. Furthermore, a direct quotation is given in support thereon.
Situational Irony. Situational irony is where the expectation that an event will happen takes a turn and a different outcome ensues. According to Hu’s, “The Story of an Hour: Mrs. Mallard’s Ethically Tragic Song”, the occurrence of these events takes place a time when women had limited elevated opportunities in life (6). During, these times, their significant roles were centered on taking care of their families on a domestic basis. Furthermore, women were very submissive to their husbands. In the story, there are several instances of this type of iron.
Firstly, it is demystified by Louise Mallard’s reaction when she receives news relating to Brently’s death. Joy overcomes her as opposed to grief. At first, “she wept at once” to give the impression that the news was tragic. The reaction at losing her loved one was as expected by Richards and Josephine because it is the normal human instincts when someone is overwhelmed by sudden negative emotions. However, it turns out that she is happy when she goes into her room and utters the word “free” while visualizing life after her husband’s death. Secondly, Brently lives and Louise dies. The turn of these events is unexpected from the beginning of the story. At first, Brently dies and afterward, he is seen opening the door. It is ironic for a person pronounced dead to be seen alive. Finally, on seeing her husband, Louise succumbs to a heart attack. It is illogical that one would die after seeing someone close alive after a tragic experience. Her death was as a result of distress after a short spun of “joy after imagining herself in control”.
Dramatic irony. Dramatic irony informs the reader of something the characters in the story are unaware about. The motive is to enable readers to understand situations vividly and enhance suspense and humor. There are elements of dramatic irony in the story which will be highlighted and explained.
One of the illustrations of dramatic irony is when the reader discovers that Mrs.Malland associates the absence of her husband to freedom. Both Josephine and Richards are unaware of Louise’s inner thoughts but the reader is informed about them. While Louise was in her room visualizing, “she realized that she would no longer be bound to her husband”. The bondage she thought to have broken free from was that of having to choose whatever she thought of doing without her husband’s approval.
Another dramatic irony scenario was when Josephine thought that Louise would be sicker in isolation when she uttered,”…you will make yourself ill”. During this moment, her colleagues would console her. However, she was unaware that Louise was pretending to be in a somber mood. While she was coaxing her to come out of her room, she had made a prayer to live longer without Brently.Moreso, when Josephine called to be with her, it is ironic that her response “I am not making myself ill” showed a different state of a person who was perceived to be mourning. In Josephine’s mind, she offered to console her sister to relieve the pain she perceived to have haunted her. By her kneeling before the door to her room, she demonstrated her willingness to have a share of the pain Louise was going through. Contrary to her imagination, her sister was well. If Josephine knew what was in her mind, she would have been surprised by the imagination of her next life.
Additionally, Louise’s death as a result of a heart attack from distress over her freedom is ironical, Brently will never know that her wife did not die out of love but due to the resentment she had for him. There is a likelihood that Brently will mourn the death of his wife Louise. From the scene when Brently enters “composedly carrying his grip-sack and umbrella”, Louise wonders how he could have survived that fatal crash. The dramatic shift from pleasure to grief is what kills her.
Verbal Irony. Verbal irony is where there is a contrast between what is said and what is meant. In this story, it is meant to provoke the reader’s thinking ability to analyze the occurrence of events. There are a few instances of verbal irony in this story.
Firstly, the title illustrates verbal irony when many events occur within a short spur of time abnormally. Usually, nothing much happens in an hour. However, in this instance, Louise has experienced many emotional states such as happiness, grief, hope, and shock within an hour. It is overwhelming to experience such states within that time.
Also, the doctor’s proclamation that Louise died of “the joy that kills” is ironic because she died of distress. The literal meaning of their phrase means Louise died due to the happiness she experienced when she saw her husband alive. However, the writer means the opposite of what the doctors thought. The story brings the understanding that Louise’s death was as a result of that joy is taken away.
In conclusion, The Story of an Hour short story provides a good understanding of the situational irony, dramatic irony, and verbal irony. Each type of irony is explained and the evidence derived from the story is clearly stated. The story should be used as a reference point for subsequent stories that will apply irony in their plot.
Chopin, Kate. The story of an hour. Jimcin Recordings, 1981.
Hu, Aihua. “The Story of an Hour: Mrs. Mallard’s Ethically Tragic Song.” ANQ: A Quarterly Journal of Short Articles, Notes and Reviews (2020): 1-7.
Are you busy and do not have time to handle your assignment? Are you scared that your paper will not make the grade? Do you have responsibilities that may hinder you from turning in your assignment on time? Are you tired and can barely handle your assignment? Are your grades inconsistent?
Whichever your reason may is, it is valid! You can get professional academic help from our service at affordable rates. We have a team of professional academic writers who can handle all your assignments.
Our essay writers are graduates with diplomas, bachelor, masters, Ph.D., and doctorate degrees in various subjects. The minimum requirement to be an essay writer with our essay writing service is to have a college diploma. When assigning your order, we match the paper subject with the area of specialization of the writer.
PLACE THIS ORDER OR A SIMILAR ORDER WITH GRADE VALLEY TODAY AND GET AN AMAZING DISCOUNT