The Story of An Hour: IronyIn Kate Chopin’s short story “The Story of an Hour,” there is muchirony. The first irony detected is in the way that Louise reacts to the newsof the death of her husband, Brently Mallard. Before Louise’s reaction isrevealed, Chopin alludes to how the widow feels by describing the worldaccording to her perception of it after the “horrible” news.
Louise is said to “not hear the story as many women have heard thesame.” Rather, she accepts it and goes to her room to be alone. Now thereader starts to see the world through Louise’s eyes, a world full of new andpure life.In her room, Louise sinks into a comfortable chair and looks out herwindow. Immediately the image of comfort seems to strike a odd note. Onereading this story should question the use of this word ” comfortable” and whyLouise is not beating the furniture instead. Next, the newly widowed women islooking 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. “Thedelicios breath of rain..
.the notes of a distant song…
countless sparrows weretwittering…
patches of blue sky….
” All these are beautiful images of life ,the reader is quite confused by this most unusual foreshadowing until Louise’sreaction is explained.The widow whispers “Free, free, free!” Louise realizes that herhusband had loved her, but she goes on to explain that as men and women ofteninhibit eachother, even if it is done with the best of intentions, they exerttheir own wills upon eachother. She realized that although at times she hadloved him, she has regained her freedom, a state of beeing that all of G-d’screatures strive for.
Although this reaction is completely unexpected, the reader quicklyaccepts it because of Louise’s adequate explanation. She grows excited andbegins 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 moreunexpected 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 entersthe 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 thereader knows that she actually died because she had a glimps of freedom andcould not go back to living under her husband’s will again.In the title, the “story” refers to that of Louise’s life. She livedin the true sense of the word, with the will and freedom to live for only onehour.