Sarcasm and Irony in Chopin’s “Story of an Hour”

Reading short stories introduces multiple opportunities for people to meet new characters, learn their lives, and get several important lessons. Each story is a piece of human life with its strong and weak aspects, and it is the decision of a reader on how to use this information. There are many strong and interesting authors of short stories, including Edgar Poe, O’Henry, or Ernest Hemingway. However, in the list of famous short story authors, it is necessary not to forget to mention Kate Chopin and her “Story of an Hour.”

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What is so special in the work of this author? In fact, many things can be mentioned, including her simple style of writing and the possibility to introduce a whole life in several paragraphs. In her intentions to discuss that true freedom is obtained when one shedding confinements, Chopin properly uses irony, sarcasm, and metaphors and explains that personal freedoms may have different roots and outcomes.

To be fulfilled, the discussion of the theme of true freedom and the necessity to obtain it through the shedding of personal confinements should begin with an identification of the reasons for why a person may cherish it. In the chosen story, Mrs. Mallard is introduced as a young woman with heart trouble and “a paralyzed inability to accept its significance” (Chopin, 2018, para. 3). She has to accept the fact that her husband died, and her life has to be changed forever.

However, instead of ordinary grief and sorrow, through “drinking in a very elixir of life through the open wind,” she continues whispering that she is now “body and soul free” (Chopin, 2018, para. 14). Therefore, the explanation of why she is in need of true freedom turns out to be rather simple – she was not happy in her marriage at all.

Sarcasm and irony fulfill the story from the beginning till its end. Mrs. Mallard hears the terrible news about her husband, but “the storm of grief had spent itself” so that she “went away to her room alone” (Chopin, 2018, para. 3). Instead of falling in bed and crying, she opens the window and enjoys “the top of trees… with the new spring life… the delicious breath of rain… the notes of a distant song” (Chopin, 2018, para. 5).

The character is not even ready to understand that her dream to become truly free has just been achieved. She does not know how to cope with emotions and what to do next. As soon as she realizes that she is free and that her freedom means the absence of a husband in her life, she does not want to share such attitudes with other people. She continues demonstrating her fake grief and providing people with an opportunity to believe that her heart was not able to cope with the joy when she saw her husband alive.

The recognition of personal confinements and true freedom is a complex task. To deal with it at a high level, the author makes a decision to use several metaphors in the story. For example, her heart trouble can be interpreted as a physical and emotional disease caused by the lack of freedom in her life. An open window is her ability to take a chance and change something. Finally, her “feverish triumph… like a goddess of Victory” is the result of her achievement and the climax of her life that does not last long (Chopin, 2018, para. 18).

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Regarding all these metaphors and confinements, it is possible to conclude that the true freedom of the main character in this story is her death or her chance to leave this world and forget about all those responsibilities, concerns, and expectations inherent to married life.

In general, the sarcasm of the story is that people cannot even understand the true essence of their desires and intentions. With a constant search for changes and freedoms, they forget about the importance of living and follow social orders and norms. As soon as a person realizes that nothing is normal, and this life is full of contradictions and responsibilities, the only rational way is to leave this world. Ironically, such a decision is usually called “death,” and people understand the entire horror of a situation just the second before they become free and die, leaving this world and all concerns forever.


Chopin, K. (2018). The story of an hour. Web.

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"Sarcasm and Irony in Chopin's "Story of an Hour"." StudyCorgi, 7 May 2021,

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StudyCorgi. "Sarcasm and Irony in Chopin's "Story of an Hour"." May 7, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Sarcasm and Irony in Chopin's "Story of an Hour"." May 7, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Sarcasm and Irony in Chopin's "Story of an Hour"'. 7 May.

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