Irony in “The Story of an Hour”
Irony allows the author to engage and surprise the reader, which often also teaches an important lesson. The definition of irony is “using words to imply the opposite of what they are normally mean.” The reader can observe many instances of irony from “The Story of an Hour.” In the short story, Louise Mallard’s weak heart undergoes big transformations within a very short time by three different types of irony: situational irony, verbal irony, and dramatic irony.
First, situational irony is used in “The Story of an Hour” to show turn to the reader. Situational irony is “used to show the expect results sometimes do not happen.” One example of situational irony is Mrs. Mallard’s reaction to her husband’s death. When she first hears the news of her husband’s death in train accident, “she weeps at once, with sudden, wild abandonment, in her sister’s arms” and “she goes away to her room alone. She would have no one follow her.” It appears to the reader she is very upset for her husband’s death, but in fact, she is actually happy for her freedom and her new life. The second example in the short story is Brently Mallard, is presumed, is indeed alive and walks in at the end of the short story. In the beginning of the short story, Mr. Brently’s friend is taking the time to assure himself that Mr. Brently’s death is true by sending second telegram. But in the end, Mr. Brently comes back and he does not even know there has been an accident. Another situational irony throughout the short story is that Mr. Mallard lives on and Mrs. Mallard passes away. After Mrs. Mallard believes her husband died, she prays that her life may be long, but she soon dies.
Next, dramatic irony is also used in the story to give the reader powerful implications. Dramatic irony is “used to fill the reader in something that the characters in the short story do not know about.” For example, in “The Story of an Hour”, Mrs. Mallard feels that she is free after she...