Irony, or the use of words to express something different from and often opposite to their literal meaning, is used in pieces of literature to further the theme and intrigue the reader. In Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour," irony is used to expand the main theme. Irony is used when Louise Mallard learns of her husband's death and in the climax of the book. Both of these ironies expand the plot of spousal restriction. .
Right off the bat, the irony begins. Mrs. Mallard is told of her husband's death. Prior to the revelation of Mrs. Mallard, the author implies that the recently widowed woman did not take the news as "many women have heard the same." The author reminds the audience that after hearing of a loved one's death, denial is the first reaction. Louise Mallard reacted differently; she accepted the news and began to cry. After the weeping stage, the author begins to describe a lovely spring scene that can be seen from Louise's window. The descriptions used now are as far away from death as possible. .
"The delicious breath of rain.the notes of a distant song.countless sparrows were twittering.patches of blue sky." .
All these are beautiful images of life; the reader is quite confused by this most unusual foreshadowing until Louise's reaction is explained. The author then describes Louise sinking into a comfortable armchair. Normally, a woman would be going out of her mind, but Mrs. Mallard seems to be rather calm and relaxed. After the author finishes her ironic descriptions, the reader observes as Mrs. Mallard has her subsequent reaction to her husband's death. The widow whispers, "Free, free, free." Louise Mallard knew and understood that her husband loved her as she loved him, but he had inhibited her and restricted her. In the following passage she comes to the realization that she no longer is bent by him and has to live for herself now.
"There would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow creature" .