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The Use of Irony in Kate Chopin’s the Story of an Hour

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Despite the fact that it is hard to be against the general public’s convictions writer Kate Chopin beats that to create a quality thought-provoking literature. Utilizing conventions of narrative stories like character development, plot development, and irony to her advantage, she lures readers into the world of emotions that the most people would not approve of. Kate Chopin proves her appreciable literary talent in ‘The Story of an Hour’ by making the plot and character development hand-in-hand and with her use of narrative irony and intriguing vocabulary.

Chopin marvelously integrates two conventions of account fiction, plot and character development. Plot is a literary term used to describe the events that make up a story, or the main part of a story. In the plot of narrative stories there is an exposition, rise to action, climax, and a fall from action. Character development is second thing that allows Chopin write such an intriguing story. Character is what stays with you after you have finished reading a story. The actions in the plot are performed by the characters in the story. Characters make something happen or produce an effect. Chopin utilizes character development to intensify the plot so much that readers can feel the emotions very closely. In the story, these are dynamically interconnected to one another.

The plot mainly takes place in the protagonist, Mrs. Mallard’s mind, which makes it crucial for readers to understand her personality and where her thoughts stem from. She is portrayed as a tender woman who suffers some heart trouble. This is important to the plot as it explains why her sister exercised caution to break the news to her. Mrs. Mallard is also described as being “young, with a fair, calm face, whose lines bespoke repression and even a certain strength”. This is an important piece of information as it explains why she grieves her husband’s death only momentarily. In simple words, repression means the action or process of suppressing a thought or desire in oneself so that it remains unconscious. Mrs. Mallard’s marriage was restricting in a sense that she never could express herself freely except in her unconscious. We can observe that Mrs. Mallard becomes extremely confused on hearing the news; she resists her newly acquired freedom as it is her characteristic trait of being timid and weak and powerless. As she begins to accept the feeling of liberation, she starts calling herself a “goddess of Victory”. According to Urban Dictionary A goddess is a woman who is so beautiful, brilliant, and wholesome that she is simply not like any other women on Earth and therefore possesses some sort of uncommon spiritual element that while is cannot be solidly defined it is clearly present. Mrs. Mallard begins to feel beautiful and happy as she wins the battle of wills after years of oppression in her marriage. She first shows off her newfound beauty and strength when she lets her sister in to see the “triumph in her eyes”.

The aforementioned blend of character and plot development not only to the protagonist, Mrs. Mallard, but also to Mr. Brently Mallard. The only glimpse we get into Mr. Mallard’s character is from this part of the text: “Chopin writes “There would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature. A kind intention or a cruel intention made the act seem no less a crime…”. However, much more is disclosed through the passage. He was portrayed as, in contrast to Mrs. Mallard, powerful and oblivious to how he was tormenting his wife. As the other minor characters don’t play a major role, they are left to the reader’s imagination.

Chopin employs irony, a fundamental characteristic of realism, to bring surprise and to deepen the plot. ‘The Story of an Hour’ turns on a progression of guileful regulated ironies that come full circle in the end. There are quite a few instances of this, starting with of Mr. Mallard’s friend Richard taking the time to affirm his name with a second telegram, and afterward toward the finish of the story things being what they are, he isn’t even associated with the accident. Another irony is from Mrs. Mallard’s perspective: “She breathed a quick prayer that life might be long. It was only yesterday she had thought with a shudder that life might be long”. Her wish was answered and when she discovered she quickly had a deadly heart attack. Moreover, Chopin presents us with the biggest irony: the use of word ‘joy’. Mrs. Mallard feels a “monstrous joy” of finally being free and enjoying her life. Next, doctors use it when they say that she died “of heart disease — of joy that kills”. It is ironic that Mrs. Mallard didn’t die due to the joy of seeing her husband alive but because of the worry that she might never feel the monstrous joy ever again. Using irony, Kate Chopin really creates an exemplary example of Realism literature.

Irony isn’t the only thing Chopin uses to enrich “The Story of an Hour”. She also delegates metaphor, narrative style and intriguing vocabulary. Mrs. Mallard’s heart trouble can be interpreted as a psychological issue due to less than ideal marriage rather than a physical ailment. Chopin uses “new spring life”, “delicious breath of air”, “blue sky showing through the clouds”, “drinking in a very elixir of life”, “summer days”, et cetera to describe Mrs. Mallard’s feelings towards her husband’s death. She also uses the metaphor: “an open window’ she sits at in the beginning of the plot. The window here means a window into the perspective of the protagonist rather than a part of the setting. When Mrs. Mallard says she “would have no one follow her”, she means she would have no one interfere with her new life again. These are all tools Kate Chopin uses to paint a wonderful picture of emotions of a woman for the readers.

By interconnecting plot, characters, irony and beautiful narration, Kate Chopin gives us an invaluable piece of literature that will be praised for a long time to come.

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The Use of Irony in Kate Chopin’s the Story of an Hour. (2020, September 01). GradesFixer. Retrieved January 22, 2021, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-use-of-irony-in-kate-chopins-the-story-of-an-hour/
“The Use of Irony in Kate Chopin’s the Story of an Hour.” GradesFixer, 01 Sept. 2020, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-use-of-irony-in-kate-chopins-the-story-of-an-hour/
The Use of Irony in Kate Chopin’s the Story of an Hour. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-use-of-irony-in-kate-chopins-the-story-of-an-hour/> [Accessed 22 Jan. 2021].
The Use of Irony in Kate Chopin’s the Story of an Hour [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2020 Sept 01 [cited 2021 Jan 22]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/the-use-of-irony-in-kate-chopins-the-story-of-an-hour/
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