When Mrs. Mallard reflects that,"It was only yesterday that she had thought with a shudder that life might be long," she becomes aware of what irony?Kate Chopin's "The Story of an Hour"

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mwestwood eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Louise Mallard sits alone in her bedroom looking far out the open window at the blue sky and the trees brugeoning in Spring; she listens to the songs of the carefree birds and experiences the epiphany of realizing that she is "Free!  Body and soul free!"  She then imagines a future of Spring and Summer days. She whispers a prayer that she will live a long life; then, she realizes that it was but a moment ago in her repressed state as the wife of Bentley Mallard that she hoped that life would not last long.

Here lies the irony:  As Mrs. Mallard, Louise Mallard has been restricted by the Victorian law of femme covert: that is, she has not been permitted to have any independence of her own.  Instead, she has been repressed, subjected to the dictates of her husband, who has virtually controlled her life.  But now that she has been informed of his death, Louise Mallard contemplates a veritable freedom.  Now, she thinks, she will be able to enjoy the seasons of the year, now she will finally be able to relish life.

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The Story of an Hour

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