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Irony in Kate Chopin's The Story of an Hour Essay

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Irony in Kate Chopin's The Story of an Hour

A very dull and boring story can be made into a great story simply by adding in something that is unexpected to happen. When the unexpected is used in literature it is known as irony. An author uses irony to shock the reader by adding a twist to the story. The author of “The Story of an Hour” is Kate Chopin. Her use of irony in the story is incredibly done more than once. Irony is thinking or believing some event will happen but in return the unexpected or opposite occurs. Kate Chopin uses two types of irony in this short story. Situational irony refers to the opposite of what is supposed to happen, and dramatic irony occurs when the audience or reader knows something that the rest of the characters in the story do not know. Kate Chopin does a great job in placing irony into this short story and makes the reader understand that the unexpected happens in life.

There are few characters in this story, but they all play an important part. The characters are Mrs. Mallard, Josephine, Richards, and Brently Mallard. Mrs. Mallard and Brently Mallard are married and live together in the house that the story takes place in. Josephine is Mrs. Mallard’s sister and she is the one who would break the news to her about Brently Mallards death in the railroad accident. Finally Richards who is Brently Mallards good friend, and he is the one who found out about Brently Mallards death.

The setting of the story takes place in the Mallards house. It seems to me that the house is old and very comfortable. I think this because after Mrs. Mallard finds out about her husband’s death she goes to her room and the narrator says “There stood, facing the open window, a comfortable, roomy armchair. Into this she sank.”(157) This shows that the furniture is old and worn because most furniture takes a while before it can be worn is so when sat on it will sink in.

Throughout the whole short story “The Story of an Hour” the reader sees’ irony but the best usage of irony occurs toward the end of the story in the last few paragraphs. As the reader reads the story they notice that Mrs. Mallard’s husband Brently Mallard died in a railroad disaster. The reader also finds out that Mrs. Mallard has a heart trouble, and great care was taken to break to her as gently as possible the news of her husband’s death. (157) There ar...


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...iant because it lets the audience know her real death and what the characters in the story thought her death was.

Without irony in a story it may be very boring and easy to put the story down. With irony included in the story the reader does not want to put the book down and stays interested throughout the entire story because irony makes the reader want to know what is going to happen next because they can’t guess it. Kate Chopin uses irony to perfection in this short story. She does this by using irony to let the reader better understand the purpose and meaning of the story. Without the irony in this story it would be dull and boring, but with irony, the story has suspense and unexpected events. This story was not like other stories that you usually read. It was not predictable at all. I love the vivid imagery throughout the whole story. I like this story because you can not really predict what is going to happen. When you can predict, it usually ruins the story. It kept you wandering about how it was going to end.

Works Cited

Chopin, Kate. The Story of an Hour. The Story and its Writers.
Compact 6th Ed. Ann Charters. Boston: Bedford/St. Martin’s, 2003. 15


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