Live Free or Don't Live at All A very dull and boring story can be made into a great story simply by adding in something that is unexpected to happen. When the unexpected is used in literature it is known as irony. An author uses irony to shock the reader by adding a twist to the story. The author of "The Story of an Hour" is Kate Chopin. Her use of irony in the story is incredibly done more than once. Irony is thinking or believing some event will happen but in return the unexpected or opposite occurs.
Kate Chopin uses two types of irony in this short story. Situational irony refers to the opposite of what is supposed to happen, and dramatic irony occurs when the audience or reader knows something that the rest of the characters in the story do not know. Kate Chopin does a great job in placing irony into this short story and makes the reader understand that the unexpected happens in life. There are few characters in this story, but they all play an important part.
The characters are Mrs. Mallard, Josephine, Richards, and Brently Mallard. Mrs. Mallard and Brently Mallard are married and live together in the house that the story takes place in. Josephine is Mrs. Mallard's sister and she is the one who would break the news to her about Brently Mallards death in the railroad accident.
Finally Richards who is Brently Mallards good friend, and he is the one who found out about Brently Mallards death. The setting of the story takes place in the Mallards house. It seems to me that the house is old and very comfortable. I think this because after Mrs. Mallard finds out about her husband's death she goes to her room and the narrator says "There stood, facing the open window, a comfortable, roomy armchair. Into this she sank." (157) This shows that the furniture is old and worn because most furniture takes a while before it can be worn is so when sat on it will sink in.
Throughout the whole short story "The Story of an Hour" the reader sees' irony but the best usage of irony occurs toward the end of the story in the last few paragraphs. As the reader reads the story they notice that Mrs. Mallard's husband Brently Mallard died in a railroad disaster. The reader also finds out that Mrs. Mallard has a heart trouble, and great care was taken to break to her as gently as possible the news of her husband's death.
(157) There are two people who take that great care and tell her the bad news. Those two people are Mrs. Mallard's sister Josephine and Brently Mallard's friend Richards. Then the best usage of irony occurs. The reader sees the first reaction of Mrs.
Mallard's husbands death. Josephine would tell her the news and Mrs. Mallard takes it pretty hard. The author Kate Chopin lets us know that she seems to take Brently Mallards death pretty hard by the words "She wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment, in her sister's arms." (157) They see that she is weeping and she wants to be alone because she storms off to her room alone. (157) But then the reader reads "But now there was a dull stare in her eyes, whose gaze was fixed away off yonder on one of those patches of blue sky. It was not a glance of reflection, but rather indicated a suspension of intelligent thought." (157) This is telling the reader that Mrs.
Mallard feels something that is coming to her. Then Mrs. Mallard says softly "free, free, free!" (157) This event could be both dramatic and situational. It could be dramatic because only the reader or audience knows the true feelings Mrs.
Mallard has for her husband, while all of the characters are not in the room with her and do not know her true feelings. This excerpt of the small story could also be situational because most people would think that when a spouse would die, there would be grief and pain felt rather than joy of being free from her husband. Only the reader knows that this is not the case for Mrs. Mallard because she is feeling freedom and has her own soul back which she felt was taken away by her own husband. In this case Kate Chopin makes the reader think one thing will occur but the exact opposite would happen later in the story. Kate Chopin also makes the reader know that Mrs.
Mallard will weep again at the funeral when she sees her pail dead husband lying there with a dull lifeless look on his face. Another case of irony is seen at the very end of the story. The reader knows that inside Mrs. Mallard feels free and happy to live alone in the years to come but the characters do not know this is what Mrs. Mallard is feeling. Then another unexpected happens.
The story says "Some one was opening the front door with a latchkey." (158) The audience and the character are now thinking who this could be and who would have the latchkey to the Mallards house. Then this is introduced "It was Brently Mallard who entered, a little travel-stained, composedly carrying his gripsack and umbrella." (158) The reader now sees that Brently Mallard is not dead and was not even involved in the railroad disaster that occurred. Knowing that Mrs. Mallard has a heart trouble Richards tries to screen Mrs. Mallard's view of Brently to prevent a heart attack of some sort. Richards winds up being to late and Mrs.
Mallard dies. Nothing is said when the audience finds out that Mrs. Mallard is dead but this "When the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease-of joy that kills." (158) Kate Chopin's ending to this story is amazing because the reader knows that Mrs. Mallard doesn't die because of a plain heart attack or out of excitement to see her husband and to know that he is still alive, but she rather died because she saw her life without her husband and felt that she would have a much better life without him in it. While the reader knows Mrs. Mallards true death the characters believe she died of excitement.
The wording of the very last sentence in the story is just brilliant. It is so brilliant because it lets the audience know her real death and what the characters in the story thought her death was. Without irony in a story it may be very boring and easy to put the story down. With irony included in the story the reader does not want to put the book down and stays interested throughout the entire story because irony makes the reader want to know what is going to happen next because they can't guess it. Kate Chopin uses irony to perfection in this short story. She does this by using irony to let the reader better understand the purpose and meaning of the story.
Without the irony in this story it would be dull and boring, but with irony, the story has suspense and unexpected events. This story was not like other stories that you usually read. It was not predictable at all. I love the vivid imagery throughout the whole story. I like this story because you can not really predict what is going to happen.
When you can predict, it usually ruins the story. It kept you wandering about how it was going to end. Works Cited Chopin, Kate. The Story of an Hour.
The Story and its Writers. Compact 6 th Ed. Ann Charters. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin's, 2003. 15.