Use of Irony in the Stories “The Storm” and “The Story of an Hour”
- Date:Jul 26, 2019
- Category:The Story of an Hour
Irony is a subtle form of a humor which entails saying things that you do not mean. Kate Chopin in her stories: The Storm and The Story of the hour use three types of irony: verbal, situational and dramatic irony to make the story interesting. Every single sentence in the two stories is arguably ironic. The stories articulate the attitudes of liberation and rebirth of two women. These two narratives are similar in various ways. Nature plays an important task in both lives of these women. Mrs. Louise Mallard and Calixta make a considerable effort to find their freedom and, hence, the endings are tragic and triumphant.
To start with, in both stories the author ironically uses the weather and environmental surrounding to give opposite meanings to a different situation. In the story of the hour Mrs. Mallard is enjoying the good weather and a fresh breeze yet she is supposed to be mourning (Chopin 1998). While in the story of the storm is connected to life’s happiness (Chopin 1996). The way Mrs. Mallard describes the surroundings of her room after getting to know about her husband death is awkward. All this symbolized a new beginning for her. She hoped to live a long life full of freedom. It is Ironical when Mrs. Mallard dies at the end of the story after realizing that the man is not dead yet she cried at first when she got the news of his death.
It is ironical how both stories end one as a triumphant and the other as a tragedy. Calixta seems to be more loving and happy after cheating on her husband. What is seen as evils by the society finally turns to be good. What we thought could destroy a marriage makes it more enjoyable. Mrs. Mallard on the other side is killed by good news. The news meant to cause sorrow brought happiness while vice versa caused death.
The two stories expresses women’s journey towards liberation. The stories use irony in similar ways. Acts of nature play a significant role in the life of both women. They both struggles to fight for their independence and the endings are tragic and triumphant. It is ironical that they are both married to men whom they don’t love. They both seem to be happy when the husband is not around. It is ironical that Calixta breaks marital vows in search of happiness while Louse realizes happiness by accident when her husband dies. The author portrays Calixta and Mrs. Mallard as wives living in repression and still loving their husbands. However, this impression is soon unmasked when Mrs. Mallard sorrow turns into joy a short while after receiving the deadly news and Calixta cheat on her husband when he is out to the store with their son.
In both stories, the author uses dramatic irony to portray the negative side of the character which other actors do not know. For instance, in the story of the hour Josephine is worried when the sister locks herself in the house. She was afraid that something terrible might ensue her yet Mrs. Mallard was celebrating the death of her husband. In the story of the storm, Bobi and Bobinot though that Calixta will be so much scared by the storm in contrast she took advantage of it.
In both stories, it is ironical that the two women characters do not care about the welfare of their loved ones. Calixta is cheating on her spouse when he is so much worried about her. He buys her a gift to show the love that he has for her while Calixta does the opposite. Mrs. Mallard rejoices her husbands death and she termed it as the beginning of free life. In both stories, the author uses irony to describe what women went through during that period. Women were not regarded as mens equals and the male species dominated the female giving the no freedom and liberty. The women are willing to enjoy freedom even though it killed them.
Chopin, Kate. The Storm. In Great Short Stories by American Women. New York: Dover, 1996.
Chopin, Kate. The Story of an Hour. The Heath Anthology of American Literature. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1998: 536-8.