The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin

The Story of an Hour book cover
Start Your Free Trial

What is the verbal irony in "The Story of an Hour"?

Expert Answers info

Harrison Murray, M.A. eNotes educator | Certified Educator

briefcaseTeacher (K-12)

bookM.A. from Clemson University


calendarEducator since 2019

write1,329 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

There are several examples of verbal irony in "The Story of an Hour" which contribute to the climactic ending.

One example is found in the very first sentence:

Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with a heart trouble, great care was taken to break to her as gently as possible the news of her husband's death.

Mrs. Mallard's "heart trouble" is implied to be a medical condition as the story opens. Her health therefore seems a thing of fragility that must be guarded. As the story progresses, however, the reader learns that Mrs. Mallard has another kind of heart trouble:

And yet she had loved him—sometimes. Often she had not. What did it matter! What could love, the unsolved mystery, count for in the face of this possession of self-assertion which she suddenly recognized as the strongest impulse of her being!

Mrs. Mallard doesn't truly love her husband; that is her real "heart trouble." Instead, she has lived with him out of a sense of duty and is fairly thrilled with the prospect of living...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 764 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

randroid eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write41 answers

starTop subject is Literature

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial