“The Story of An Hour” seems to be one of the brightest works, to get the sense of Kate Chopin’s writing style. This author wrote without sentimentality, drawing clear, thin and sharp images and characters. Her works are full of dialects and were widely criticized by society at different times. Talking about “The story of an hour”, it is stated that writer was intended to adopt and poeticize women’s desire of spiritual independence and to outline ironic awareness that appropriate wish is doom originally. To stress this thought, Kate Chopin used two main literature terms: irony and symbolism
Considering the placed statement, it should be recognized that analyzed work contains several controversies in character’s nature. Let’s remind, Mrs. Mallard, the main character of the story, learns about death of her husband, who became the victim of train crash. However, the first reaction of genuine grief was replaced by a strange feeling that she could not understand initially. Unexpectedly, the sense of joy was born in her soul. This is the story of character’s self-learning.
It is important that this transformation was stressed by the author with the symbolism used in the story. Let’s remind next quote: “She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life. The delicious breath of rain was in the air. In the street below a peddler was crying his wares. The notes of a distant song which some one was singing reached her faintly, and countless sparrows were twittering in the eaves. There were patches of blue sky showing here and there through the clouds that had met and piled one above the other in the west facing her window” (Chopin, 1). This scene displays natural awakening of woman’s desire to get spiritual independence, what was considered in our statement.
Now, let’s go to the second part of the statement. As it was said, Kate Chopin is pretty sure that woman’s desire to become spiritually free is doom one. To bring this thought to wide range of readers, she used irony. By passing the entire way of self-learning, Mrs. Mallard met unexpected surprise. Her husband, as it turned out, was far from the crash and came home. This surprise became fatal for her: “When the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease–of the joy that kills” (Chopin, 1). There is no doubt that the last words sound particularly ambiguous. Considering the mood of Mrs. Mallard before the last scene, previous quote hardly can be treated directly in match with its content. The notes of the irony are felt here. It is not random that the author combined ironic and tragic elements in the part of main character’s death. Such combination became helpful to stress mandatory failure and doom of woman’s aspiration to break chains of male dictatorship.
To add, symbolism and irony are not the full list to support placed statement. Proper arguments also can be found in compositional contrast, images, landscape sketches, the logic of artistic details, comparisons, adjectives. All these elements were used to express the main idea of the author. Being pretty clear with the message, Kate Chopin paid much attention to design appropriate atmosphere according to it. Such approach made this woman’s works the real heritage of world literature.
Chopin, Kate. “The story of an hour”. Vcu.edu. Web. 13 July 2011. http://www.vcu.edu/engweb/webtexts/hour/