the story of an hour Essay

Submitted By sarahzhang181581
Words: 572
Pages: 3

Two different events in this story shock the reader through situational irony. Situational irony occurs when the reader’s expectations of the story are met with an unexpected occurrence, something that the reader wouldn’t have guessed would happen. The first incident takes place shortly after the main character, Louise, is told that her husband has died in a railroad accident. Her immediate reaction is predictable; she clings to her sister and sobs because her husband is dead. When a person loses a loved one that person goes through a mourning period to grieve for the loss and to cope with the death. What the reader is unprepared for, however, is not this display of emotion directly after the news of the accident. Rather than devastated by his death, Louise is overjoyed. Rather than absorbing the news as some women, “with paralyzed inability to accept its significance” (444), she understands at once. Alone in her room, “she said it over and over under her breath: ‘Free, free, free!’” (445). The speaker then makes a statement to soothe the reader in acknowledging that yes, Mrs. Mallard should be shocked at her own thoughts, just as the reader is, when she writes, “She did not stop to ask if it were not a monstrous joy that held her. A clear and exalted perception enabled her to dismiss the suggestion as trivial” (445). The speaker tells us that Mrs. Mallard’s newfound joy blinds her to the callousness of the feelings she is experiencing, but which must obviously surprise the reader. The ensuing thoughts cause the reader to view what we otherwise might have assumed was a happy marriage as a relationship that was not necessarily dysfunctional in the sense that most would think (abuse of some kind), but was nonetheless unhappy on the part of Mrs. Mallard. She thinks to herself:
There would be no one to live for during those coming years; she would live for herself. There would be no powerful will bending her in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow creature. A kind intention of a cruel intention made the act seem no less a crime as she looked upon it. (445)
Mrs. Mallard was…