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Eng102 Story of an Hour Analysis

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Simon Gratkowski

English 102 A7C2

Professor Graham

Essay #1

18 November 2019

        Irony is a fundamental element in many significant stories and literature pieces. Irony is used in many pieces to give stories some unexpected turn of events stunning and surprising the audience like nothing else. Kate Chopin’s “Story of an Hour” is no exception to this literary technique. Offering dramatic irony as well as situational irony in the mix, Kate Chopin’s “Story of an Hour” does not fail to thrill the reader with some interesting takes on Irony in the literature world. Situational Irony is used to surprise the reader and give them a jump while dramatic irony is used to “surprise” Mrs. Mallard in the story for increased dramatic effect towards the audience. Verbal irony is used when one character says something with a sarcastic tone and really means something else. The irony in “Story of an Hour” allow for an interesting short story read bringing surprise to both the reader and the main character allowing one to enjoy both and get a good reading experience.

        Situational Irony makes a strong appearance in this short story. The story describes how Mrs. Mallard’s husband has passed away and the audience feels remorse for Mrs. Mallard as soon as we hear the news. We expect Mrs. Mallard to be in tears and full of despair when she enters her room upstairs. Only to find out that instead she is happy in a certain sense that her husband’s death gives her a new profound sense of freedom and a fresh start at life. This is a big surprise to the audience because no one would ever expect Mrs. Mallard to take this so lightly and have this kind of reaction to such terrible news. The next candidate for situational irony in this short story is when Mrs. Mallard’s husband actually turns out to be alive and the news that changed Mrs. Mallard’s life so drastically turns out be false. The audience were never expecting this turn of events and now they are eager to find out Mrs. Mallards reaction as she walks down the stairs. The final and strongest example of situational irony in this short story is when Mrs. Mallard passes away from the “joy” of seeing her husband who was supposed to be dead standing at her very own doorway. The audience expected him to be dead as the whole story almost was about Mrs. Mallard fantasizing about her new life. Suddenly he walks in, alive as day, only to cause Mrs. Mallard’s heart to skip a beat and take her life.

        Dramatic irony makes some appearances in this story as well. Dramatic irony is when the audience knows something that the characters do not know or at least do not know yet. Some examples of this in “The Story of an Hour” are as follows. When Mrs. Mallard hears the terrible news of her husband passing away, she decides to go upstairs and tells her sister Josephine that she would like to be alone in her thoughts and feelings for now. Josephine offers no resistance to this idea as her sister’s husband has just passed away and she does not want to interfere with anything Mrs. Mallard would like to do. However the audience knows that Mrs. Mallard goes up to her room only to start thinking about her old life and looking towards her new one with more content than she experienced during her husband’s life with her. She thinks about the new sense of freedom she now has and is not very sad about her recent loss. Josephine believes she is upstairs and grief - stricken but she is instead rejoicing in her new freedom. The doctor proclaims that Mrs. Mallard had died from the joy of seeing her husband alive and well at the foot of the stairs but the audience knows she has passed due to the huge disappointment she has just faced after fantasizing for a good amount of time in her room.  

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