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Explain the irony of the doctors' diagnosis of the cause of Mrs. Mallard's death.

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rgrewal87 | Student, Grade 10 | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 18, 2012 at 8:17 AM via web

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Explain the irony of the doctors' diagnosis of the cause of Mrs. Mallard's death.

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pirateteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Associate Educator

Posted February 18, 2012 at 11:45 AM (Answer #1)

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Chopin's irony comes in the end of her short story "The Story of an Hour."  Told that her husband died in a train crash, she goes to her room to think.  Instead of crying over her husband's death, Louise looks out the window and begins imagining how she can living life for 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 hers 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 or a cruel intention made the act seem no less a crime as she looked upon it in that brief moment of illumination.

Finally she pulls herself together and leaves her room.  She begins walking down the stairs, with the support of her sister.  Just at that moment the door opens, and in walks her husband.  Her sister screams and tries to keep Mr. Mallard from seeing his wife who has collapsed upon seeing her husband.  The doctor assumes that she has died from the excitement of seeing her husband is alive. The reader knows the irony in this statement, that her death was"of joy that kills." While she loved her husband, she did not die because she is excited, but because she cannot bear to live subservient to him any more.

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