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Published: 29-09-2019

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Art Of Irony in 'The Story of An Hour'

In The Story of An Hour, Kate Chopin utilizes a selection of literary devices ranging from third individual narration, juxtaposition and irony to vividly illustrate the dramatic process of grievance, and alternately liberation, that Mrs. Mallard experiences below the impression that her husband has died. In the beginning of the short story, Chopin attempts to extend inklings to the reader of what is later to come in the story through the assertion that “Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with a heart difficulty,” and that the other characters, her sister Josephine especially, would “break to her as gently as feasible the news of her husband’s death.” It might be perceived that Chopin’s intentions had been to foreshadow Mrs. Mallard having a heart failure in response to the traumatic news if it have been not delivered delicately. Chopin depicts Mrs. Mallard as a fragile getting whom would be shattered each physically and emotionally when offered the news of her husband’s death.

Chopin then toys along with this predictable reaction describing Mrs. Mallard as to have “wept at as soon as, with sudden, wild abandonment,” related to how a “child who has cried itself to sleep continues to sob in its dreams.” The use of such kinetic word composition and the comparison of Mrs. Mallard to that of a sobbing youngster portrays her as an emotionally obliterated, feeble lady – totally devastated, the exact reaction Chopin had foreshadowed early on. Chopin then implements juxtaposition and irony when describing Mrs. Mallard’s feelings subsequent of her devastation.

Up till this point in the story, all of Mrs. Mallard’s actions are seemingly all-natural. The reader would believe it affordable for a lady to be emotionally rattled at the news of her husband’s death, however Chopin twists this seemingly predictable narrative on its head by now revealing a sense of liberation in Mrs. Mallard. To initiate this shift in mood, Chopin describes Mrs. Mallard gazing at the sky not in “a glance of reflection,” even so a glance which “indicated a suspension of intelligent thought,” and this described “suspension of intelligent thought” puts a pause on Mrs. Mallard’s remorseful thoughts and serves as a gateway into her newfound freedom.

Chopin further describes the constructive ascension of Mrs. Mallard’s thoughts through the phrases “her bosom rose and fell tumultuously,” whilst whispering, “free, free of charge, free,” “over and over below her breath.” Through this description, Chopin appears to reinvent Mrs. Mallard in an nearly evil way as she is obtaining peace within her husband’s death. A reader may associate Mrs. Mallard’s “tumultuous” chest movements and repetition of a single word with the clich?, evil, methodical laugh of a villainous character that rises in richness at the expense of one more (the laugh then commensurate to Mrs. Mallard’s happiness at the expense of her husband’s life). Chopin has recreated Mrs. Mallard in a way that makes her seemingly selfish in that she has achieved contentment by means of the death of her husband when the orthodox reaction ought to be a sense of remorse. Chopin consequently creates irony in two methods: one particular through the juxtaposition of how Mrs. Mallard must feel and how she actually feels and the other becoming how Mrs. Mallard achieves emotional uplift by way of an inherently wrong (according to societal expectation) response to the scenario.

Referring back to the potential foreshadowing in the starting of story, Chopin appears to produce a complete circle impact at the end of the story. The really last line of Chopin’s brief story proclaims that “she (Mrs. Mallard) had died of heart disease – of the joy that kills.” This ending serves as a full circle ending as it ties Chopin’s starting statement, “Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with a heart problems,” to the finish of the story: Mrs. Mallard’s death via heart failure. The irony then amounts from the trigger of Mrs. Mallard’s heart failure. Chopin has illustrated the story so that the reader knows Mrs. Mallard’s heart failure is from the damaging shock of being aware of her husband is alive while the characters in the story believe Mrs. Mallard’s heart failure is from good shock, therefore “the joy that kills.” This irony and juxtaposition of what truly occurred and what is perceived to have happened (by the characters in the story) is produced completely attainable by means of Chopin’s decision of third individual narration.

Via third individual narration, Chopin exposes both sides of the predicament: Mrs. Mallard’s internal thoughts, her feelings of liberation and freedom, and the external thoughts of the other characters, the feelings that Mrs. Mallard is desolate. By divulging the juxtaposing views to the reader, Chopin creates an ironic dichotomy. Through this ironic dichotomy, the reader gleans the unadulterated truth of Mrs. Mallard’s reaction to her husband’s death hence establishing a individual relationship between the reader and the character of Mrs. Mallard, all of which Chopin makes use of as a technique to properly illustrate Mrs. Mallard’s emotional development throughout the story.
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