Please provide two literary elements and devices in Kate Chopin's short story, "The Story of an Hour."

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booboosmoosh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour," there are a number of literary elements and literary devices.

One literary element in the story is conflict. There are several examples of conflict in the story. One is man vs himself. When Mrs. Mallard first feels that sense of freedom approaching her, she is frightened.

There was something coming to her and she was waiting for it, fearfully.

When Mrs. Mallard expresses her unhappiness with her marriage, this is man vs man.

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.

When Mrs. Mallard dies at the end, the doctors say she died of heart failure: from "the joy that kills." This is man vs society in that no person of that male-dominated era could imagine Mrs. Mallard's death coming from the shock of disappointment; they could only imagine it was from relief or joy.

The second element is irony, which is the difference between what you expect to happen and what really happens. When Brently Mallard comes through the door, one might expect Mrs. Mallard to be happy, but she is "fatally" disappointed.

In terms of literary devices, one that is used is personification, which is giving human traits to non-human things—as shown in the line below:

Into this she sank, pressed down by a physical exhaustion that haunted her body and seemed to reach into her soul.

Exhaustion cannot haunt anyone.

Another literary device is onomatopoeia, which describes the sound it stands for:

The notes of a distant song which someone was singing reached her faintly, and countless sparrows were twittering in the eaves.

"Twittering" is a word that describes the chattering sound that sparrows make.

Read the study guide:
The Story of an Hour

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