The Use of Irony in Kate Chopin’s “The Story Of An Hour” Irony is an important literary device that is used to heighten the reader’s expectations and experience of a story.
They are placed carefully in the story to create twists and surprise endings for the reader as it does in this story.There are three main types of irony that are used within literary works.The first is dramatic irony.
This is where the reader or audience is aware of something important of which the characters are not aware. The second type of irony is verbal irony.This is when the meaning of an expression is, or is intended to be the exact opposite of what the words really mean, can also be known as sarcasm.
The third type is situational irony which is an outcome that turns out to be very different from what was expected.Chopin uses both dramatic and situational irony in her story to tell a tale of “a joy that kills”. One of the types of irony that Kate Chopin uses in her short story is dramatic irony.In the beginning of her story, Chopin introduces to the reader a character known as “Mrs. Mallard” (63). Mrs.
Mallard’s sister, Josephine, is trying to break the news to her about her husband dying in a terrible “railroad disaster”, but tried to do as gently as possible because Mrs. Mallard suffers with heart trouble (63). Although this would seem as tragic news to everyone else such as Josephine, and Mr.
Mallard’s friend Richards, did not seem to have much effect on Louise. “She did not hear the story as many other women have heard the same, with a paralyzed inability to accept its significance” (63).After she had only wept “once”, she upstairs in her room to be by herself, and did not want anyone to follow her up there.The dramatic irony that the reader soon discovers, while at the same time her sister and Richards would not, was that Mrs. Mallard was not going up to her room to weep for her recently deceased husband, but to sit and think of how she describes herself as being “free, free, free!”, which she had repeated several times to herself (64).
There seems to be a sudden joy that overcomes Louise as she sits “comfortable” in her “roomy armchair” (63).Most widows would not be sitting “comfortable” in their armchair after they have heard such tragic news.Rather than thinking of how this death would effect her future in a negative aspect, she saw a “long procession of years to come that would belong to her absolutely”, and she opened “her arms to them in welcome” (64).She also felt that “there would be no one to live for her during those coming years: she would live for herself” (64).The reader can tell that the other characters have no clue of how Mrs. Mallard is feeling because Josephine would knee in front of her door demanding that she open the door because she is going to “make herself ill” (65).They believe that she is sick in despair for her dead husband and is grieving alone in her room.
Louise is not totally happy that her husband is dead, but I do believe that she is happy for the fact that she now has a sense of freedom.It is this sense of freedom that Louise feels that Chopin creates using dramatic irony. Another.