What is a good thesis statement for a literary analysis of irony in "The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin?

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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Without question, it is Chopin's masterful use of irony that gives her short story "The Story of an Hour" such powerful implications. There are all three forms of irony at work: situational, verbal, and dramatic. So, one thesis statement could mention the three types of irony and their connection to the narrative:

  • In Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour," the interplay of situational, verbal, and dramatic irony determine the psychological condition of the protagonist, Mrs. Louise Mallard, a condition that drives the narrative.

Since all three ironies involve incongruities, you may wish to focus on these incongruities and what effect they have upon the protagonist, Mrs. Mallard. For instance, the first incongruity, that of the unfortunate news that her husband has been in a train wreck, ironically brings her a sense of relief and freedom. Then, after she realizes that her repression is over and she can live her life independently, Louise Mallard feels empowered, with "triumph in her eyes," and she descends the stairs only to see her husband walk through the door. Ironically, it is despair—not the "joy" her friends and family believe it is—that kills her.

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