Types of Irony
Is it strange how love can be a source of happiness, but also cause a lot of pain? Yet people tend to search for love, and once these people find love it comes with both pleasure and ache. Irony plays a role in love because love is what people perceive as joy but also causes hurt, yet people still search for love. In Kate Chopin’s Story of an Hour, there are different forms of literary, situational, and dramatic irony used.
The first type of irony which Kate Chopin uses is literary irony. Literary irony is expression of one’s meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite. In The Story of an Hour, Louise says that her husband Brently is kind to her, yet she loves him sometimes. This is ironic because Louise states that she loves her husband only sometimes despite Brently being a kind husband. It is impossible to love a person sometimes because love is an intense feeling of deep affection; loving someone sometimes only means that person doesn’t love the other person at all. Another example of irony in the story is the fact that Louise is young and alive, yet young and emotionally dead. In the beginning, when Louise hears about her husband’s death, Louise falls into sadness “facing the open window.” This is ironic because despite Louise being young and full of life, she is emotionally dead because of brently’s death.
The second type of irony is situational irony. Situational irony involves a situation in which actions have an effect that is opposite from what was intended. In Chopin’s story, Josephine and Richards think Louise is experiencing shock, but Louise actually experiences joy in her room. Josephine believes that Mrs. Mallard is going through heart ache because of Brently’s tragic death, but Louise is really joyful. Knowing that Brently is dead, Louise feels free and can now live life the way she wants. Another example of situational irony is when Louise prays that her life will be long, yet she dies at the end. This is a situational irony because Louise is in bliss and prays that her life will be long now that Brently is gone, but Louise ends up dying. In the end of The Story of an Hour, Louise walks down stairs to see that Brently is actually alive which causes Louise to fall into severe devastation and die.
The last type of irony used in The Story of an Hour is dramatic irony. Dramatic irony occurs when the meaning of the situation is understood by the audience but not by the characters in the play. When the doctor in the story says, “She had died of heart disease, of a joy that kills.” The characters in the story, Josephine and Richards, think Louise died out of joy when Brently is actually found to be alive rather than dead. This realization causes Louise to fall into desolation and die because now she cannot live her life freely. Dramatic irony also occurs when Josephine thinks Louise is sick in her room when she is really experiencing joy. This falls under dramatic irony because Josephine thinks Louise is becoming sick due to Brently’s death, but the audience reading the story know that Louise is actually full of joy.
In The Story of an Hour, Kate Chopin uses these different types of literary, situational, and dramatic irony in her story. Irony is the use of words to convey a meaning that is the opposite of its literal meaning, but there are also other types of irony such as situational which is situation in which actions have an effect that is opposite from what was intended. On the other hand, dramatic irony is when the meaning of a situation is understood by the audience but not by the characters.