Today we will read The Story of an Hour (1894). It is written by Kate Chopin who is famous for her stories about gender and the repression of women in society.
Get into groups of four, discuss, formulate and write down an answer to the following questions:
- The setting of the story is very limited; it is confined largely to a room, a staircase, and a front door. Why would the author have chosen to do this? What is she trying to achieve by this limited setting?
- In what ways is the following passage significant? ”She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life. The delicious breath of rain was in the air. In the street below a peddler was crying his wares. The notes of a distant song which some one was singing reached her faintly, and countless sparrows were twittering in the eaves.” What kinds of sensory images does this passage contain, and what senses does it address? What does the vision through the open window mean to her? Where else does she taste, smell, or touch something intangible in the story?
- Mallard closes the door to her room so that her sister Josephine cannot get in, yet she leaves the window open. Why does Chopin make a point of telling the reader this? How might this relate to the idea of being ”free” and to the implicit idea that she is somehow imprisoned? Do other words in the story relate to this idea?
- Mallard is described as descending the stairs ”like a goddess of Victory.” In what ways does she feel herself victorious?
- What view of marriage does the story present? The story was published in 1894; does it only represent attitudes toward marriage in the nineteenth century, or could it equally apply to attitudes about marriage today?
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What is irony
is a statement in which the meaning that a speaker employs is sharply different from the meaning that is actually expressed. The ironic statement usually involves the explicit expression of one attitude or evaluation, but with indications in the overall situation that the speaker intends a very different, and often opposite, attitude or evaluation.
Situational irony, is irony in a broader sense means that something opposite to what was expected happened.
Examples of irony in this broader sense, in the everyday deal with the opposite of the expected happening in the real world.
- Example: A person who claims to be a vegan and avoids meat but will eat a slice of pepperoni pizza because they are hungry. It may not make sense, but it is an illustration of irony.
- Example: A man who is a traffic cop gets his license suspended for unpaid parking tickets.
- Example: An ambulance driver goes to a nightime bike accident scene and runs over the accident victim because the victim has crawled to the center of the road with their bike.
This type of irony can be attributed to some sort of misfortune. Usually cosmic irony is the end result of fate or chance.
- Example: Gambling. If you are playing blackjack chances are you will be up (making money) for awhile, and then just when you thought things were going well, you lose it all.
- Example: The Titanic was promoted as being 100% unsinkable; but, in 1912 the ship sank on its maiden voyage.
- Example: At a ceremony celebrating the rehabilitation of seals after the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska, at an average cost of $80,000 per seal, two seals were released back into the wild only to be eaten within a minute by a killer whale.
Cosmic irony feeds on the notion that people cannot see the effects of their actions, and sometimes the outcome of a person’s actions may be out of their control.
Dramatic irony occurs when there is miscommunication in a book, play or film and the audience is smarter than the characters.
- Example: As an audience member, you realize that if a character walks into an abandoned warehouse, chances are a killer is waiting… but because you are a member of the audience you cannot disclose the information to the character.
- Example: In Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare Romeo finds Juliet in a drugged state and he thinks she is dead. He kills himself. When Juliet wakes up she finds Romeo dead and kills herself.
- Example: In Macbeth by William Shakespeare Macbeth appears to be loyal to Duncan but he is planning Duncan’s murder. Duncan doesn’t know Macbeth’s plans but the audience knows what is going to happen.
Alanis Morisette – Ironic
Use the worksheet and do the analysis in the worksheet. Alanis_ironic (Worksheet) Is the song truly ironic? What kind of irony is there in the song? Why?
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