In Kate Chopin’s short story “The Story of an Hour,” thereis much irony. The first irony detected is in the way thatLouise reacts to the news of the death of her husband,Brently Mallard. Before Louise’s reaction is revealed,Chopin alludes to how the widow feels by describing theworld according to her perception of it after the “horrible”news.
Louise is said to “not hear the story as many womenhave heard the same.” Rather, she accepts it and goes to herroom to be alone. Now the reader starts to see the worldthrough Louise’s eyes, a world full of new and pure life. Inher room, Louise sinks into a comfortable chair and looksout her window.
Immediately the image of comfort seems tostrike a odd note. One reading this story should question theuse of this word ” comfortable” and why Louise is notbeating the furniture instead. Next, the newly widowedwomen is looking out of the window and sees spring and allthe new life it brings. The descriptions used now are as faraway from death as possible. “The delicios breath ofrain..
.the notes of a distant song…countless sparrows weretwittering…patches of blue sky.
…” All these are beautifulimages of life , the reader is quite confused by this mostunusual foreshadowing until Louise’s reaction is explained.The widow whispers “Free, free, free!” Louise realizes thather husband had loved her, but she goes on to explain thatas men and women often inhibit eachother, even if it is donewith the best of intentions, they exert their own wills uponeachother. She realized that although at times she had lovedhim, she has regained her freedom, a state of beeing that allof G-d’s creatures strive for. Although this reaction iscompletely unexpected, the reader quickly accepts itbecause of Louise’s adequate explanation.
She growsexcited and begins to fantasize about living her life forherself. With this realization, she wishes that “life might belong,” and she feels like a “goddess of Victory” as she walksdown the stairs. This is an eerie forshadowing for an evenmore unexpected ending. The reader has just acceptedLouise’s reaction to her husband’s death, when the mostunexpected happens; her husband is actually alive and heenters the 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 the readerknows that she actually died because she had a glimps offreedom and could not go back to living under her husband’swill again. In the title, the “story” refers to that of Louise’slife. She lived in the true sense of the word, with the will andfreedom to live for only one hour. Book Reports