The Story of An Hour: Irony


In Kate Chopin\'s short story "The Story of an Hour," there is much
irony. The first irony detected is in the way that Louise reacts to the news
of the death of her husband, Brently Mallard. Before Louise\'s reaction is
revealed, Chopin alludes to how the widow feels by describing the world
according to her perception of it after the "horrible" news.
Louise is said to "not hear the story as many women have heard the
same." Rather, she accepts it and goes to her room to be alone. Now the
reader starts to see the world through Louise\'s eyes, a world full of new and
pure life.
In her room, Louise sinks into a comfortable chair and looks out her
window. Immediately the image of comfort seems to strike a odd note. One
reading this story should question the use of this word " comfortable" and why
Louise is not beating the furniture instead. Next, the newly widowed women is
looking out of the window and sees spring and all the new life it brings.
The descriptions used now are as far away from death as possible. "The
delicios breath of rain...the notes of a distant song...countless sparrows were
twittering...patches of blue sky...." All these are beautiful images of life ,
the reader is quite confused by this most unusual foreshadowing until Louise\'s
reaction is explained.
The widow whispers "Free, free, free!" Louise realizes that her
husband had loved her, but she goes on to explain that as men and women often
inhibit eachother, even if it is done with the best of intentions, they exert
their own wills upon eachother. She realized that although at times she had
loved him, she has regained her freedom, a state of beeing that all of G-d\'s
creatures strive for.
Although this reaction is completely unexpected, the reader quickly
accepts it because of Louise\'s adequate explanation. She grows excited and
begins to fantasize about living her life for herself. With this realization,
she wishes that "life might be long," and she feels like a "goddess of Victory"
as she walks down the stairs. This is an eerie forshadowing for an even more
unexpected ending.
The reader has just accepted Louise\'s reaction to her husband\'s death,
when the most unexpected happens; her husband is actually alive and he enters
the room shocking everyone, and Louise especially, as she is shocked to death.
The irony continues, though, because the doctors say she died of joy, when the
reader knows that she actually died because she had a glimps of freedom and
could not go back to living under her husband\'s will again.
In the title, the "story" refers to that of Louise\'s life. She lived
in the true sense of the word, with the will and freedom to live for only one
hour.

Category: English