“Story Of An Hour”: Does Marriage Equals To Prison

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Is marriage a prison? According to Kate Chopin, the answer is – yes; marriage is a prison in which freedom does not exist. In 1894, Kate Chopin wrote and published “Story of an Hour.” The story takes place in the late nineteenth century in an American home, where Mrs. Mallard, the protagonist, heard about the news of her husband’s death from her sister. In the beginning, Mrs. Mallards felt sad about her husband’s death. The feeling, however, shifts because she begins to be happy about her husband’s death. She thinks she will be able to enjoy the freedom that she had lost in the marriage. Her hope is then ruined by the subsequent news of Mr. Mallard’s survival. The story describes the change of Mrs. Mallard’s reaction and emotion within a single hour. In the short fiction, Chopin explores her belief that marriage and freedom cannot exist together by using two powerful ironies: situational irony and dramatic irony. Kate Chopin first uses a situational irony to suggest that the women in the nineteenth century did not always feel sorrowful for their husband’s death. The situational irony happened right after Mrs. Mallard heard about the news of her husband’s death. In contrast to the grief and sorrow that Mrs. Mallard was supposed to feel, the things around her were described with a joyful mood “open window… comfortable, roomy armchair… trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life… countless sparrows were twittering in the eaves” (Chopin 1). The event is an example of a situational irony because the mood of the event was happy, which is different from what one would have expected. This irony indicates that the nineteenth-century women were eager for a new and free life. Some of them even considered their husbands’ death as cathartic because they would no longer be immured in a small house filled with restrictions. Besides situational irony, Chopin also

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