Interpreting Symbolic And Ironic References In The Story Of An Hour

1750 words - 7 pages

Various authors use rhetorical devices to emphasize the plot or theme in their writings. Many use symbols to convey ideas or meanings. Others use irony to make the reader analyze or paint a vivid picture of the unexpected. We see symbols in our everyday lives. For example, in religion, the cross symbolizes hope and faith to the Christians. In astrology, there are numerous of symbols, called zodiacs that identify one’s destiny and are used to determine one’s horoscope. Furthermore, in ancient times, Egyptians used symbols to communicate with one other or for religious rituals; the scriptures were called hieroglyphics. On the other hand, irony can best be described when the unexpected happens. For instance, it’s strange when a police man gets arrested or when a firehouse catches on fire.
In Kate Chopin’s short story, a woman named Louise Mallard suffered of a heart disease. When her sister Josephine reveals to Louise about her husband’s tragic train accident, causing his death, her reaction was bizarre. After she is notified about her husband’s decease, she goes upstairs and locks herself in her room. She sits on her armchair, looks out her window, and fantasizes about what her life will be like without her husband, Mr. Mallard. Shortly after, Josephine comes for her, thinking Louise will get ill about the news and they both walk down the stairs. To Mrs. Mallard’s dismay, the door flings open: Mr. Mallard was alive! Mrs. Mallard was in shock but mostly disappointed, for the future she dreamed of without her husband was ruined, and dies. According to the doctor she had died of the joy that kills. There is no doubt that Kate Chopin included an abundant of symbolic and ironic references in her short story “The Story of an Hour.”
In Kate Chopin’s short story, Mrs. Mallard was the main character, “the protagonist, the center of attention, and the person around whom all the other characters revolve” (Craig). The story took place during the late nineteenth century when women depended a great deal on men. “Mrs. Mallard is described as being young and having ‘a fair, calm face’ symbolizing the beauty and innocence” (123helpme Editors). Louise was very pretty but Lorcher mentions how “Mrs. Mallard could be said to represent women of her time period who were unable to find happiness in marriage and motherhood… but because their freedoms within marriage are restricted.” Mrs. Mallard was unquestionably reliable on Mr. Mallard due to the fact that she had no word in anything; it was a social issue during that time.
As introduced in the story, Mrs. Mallard suffered of a heart condition. Chopin explains how Louise had to be greatly taken care of because of her health. A source elaborates how “the fact that Mrs. Mallard had ‘heart trouble’ should be taken as more meaningful than just the idea that she’s unhealthy” (Shmoop Editors). Even if Mrs. Mallard was ill from the heart, it’s more than just her physical condition. She had more complications with the love...

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