Chopin’s “Story of an Hour”
Irony is a device used in stories to give them unexpected twists or turns in the plot. In the short story, “Story of an Hour” irony is used successfully. There were two types of irony used in the story; situational and dramatic. Situational irony is used to show the reader what is supposed to happen, but does not necessarily occur. Dramatic irony is used to allow the readers to know that something is happening that the characters do not know about. Both of these forms of irony give the story more suspense and humor.
Irony is first seen before Mrs. Mallard’s reaction to her husband dying is revealed. Chopin uses situational irony here by telling the reader how the widow must feel, but Mrs. Mallard actually accepts the news and carries off to her bedroom by herself. In her bedroom irony is seen again when she goes to get comfortable in the chair, again situational irony. Most people after hearing a loved on has died can not and will not be comfortable, but Mrs. Mallard immediately finds comfort in relaxing in her chair.
While Mrs. Mallard is in her bedroom, she stares out the window where a scene of birds singing, a blue sky, and other happy outside images are described, which is not what the reader expects to be hearing next in the story after just learning of a death. Then Mrs. Mallard says, “Free! Body and soul free!” which is an unexpected reaction from a new widow until her reaction is explained. At this point Mrs. Mallard begins to imagine living life on her own and for herself, while also describing her wishes for her life and how happy she is of how her life turns out. These events are what lead to the ironic ending.
As Mrs. Mallard is walking down the steps, the front door opens and there is Mr. Mallard; alive, unharmed, and unaware of any accident that happened and then Mrs. Mallard passes away. The doctors say that she passes away from “heart disease- of joy that kills.” This ending is ironic because Mrs. Mallard...