The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin

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What are the different examples of verbal irony in "The Story of an Hour"?

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Wallace Field eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Verbal irony involves a statement that means something other than what it appears to mean (most often, it means the opposite of what is said).  The two examples of verbal irony that I can find in the story also involve dramatic irony, which is when the audience knows more than the character(s) in the story.  Therefore, when the doctors proclaim at the story's end that Louise Mallard died of "heart disease -- of joy that kills," they mean -- literally -- that her happiness at seeing her husband alive was too much for her heart; they are not employing verbal irony.  Rather, the author seems to be -- Chopin means that it was Mrs. Mallard's joy that "killed" her, just not the joy the doctors think: what really killed the protagonist was experiencing the joy of knowing that she would be free for the remainder of her life and then having that joy taken away.  Thus, we know more than the characters do, and we understand -- as Chopin wants us to -- that the doctors' statement isn't really true in...

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