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Name: Pekko Pullola

Symbolism and Irony in “The Story of an Hour”

1. Identify the meaning of the following symbols in “The Story of an Hour”. Explain how the symbol reveals aspects of Mrs. Mallard’s characterization and transformation in the story.

a. the open window
That there still is a sense of hope and that the world is still open for new possibilities in life being single
b. open door/closed door to Mrs. Mallard’s room
The closed door could symbolize a dead end or feelings of imprisonment with no way out. And the open door could symbolize that there is a way out and can include a view of what lies ahead
c. patches of blue sky
Light was shining through the clouds which seemed to be a cover. So it could mean that there is patches of hope lying around in life
d. death
The fear of death is constantly flowing through the Mallards’ house. People are trying to keep it away. She has to be protected against sudden shocks which could end up being fatal. Mrs. Mallard, through grieving, realizes that she is now free from a marriage in which she wasn’t truly happy. And after Mr. Mallard returns unharmed by the tragedy, Mrs. Mallard collapses, dead.
e. Mrs. Mallard’s heart
The doctor said that she had died of heart disease – of joy that kills. She realized that her “freedom” was never to be, and that killed her.
Types of irony:
Verbal irony – the meaning of a word or phrase is opposite their literal or dictionary definition
Dramatic irony – the reader knows information about the story that a character does not
Situational irony – the outcome of an event is the opposite of what is expected
Identify an example of each type of irony in the text. Explain how the use of irony informs us of Mrs. Mallard’s characterization and how it relates to a conflict, theme, and the text as a whole.

Verbal irony-
The ‘heart disease’ is not a physical disease in Mrs. Mallards heart but they are referring to her soul and emotions.
Dramatic irony-
Josephine is worried that Mrs. Mallard has locked herself in her room and is making herself ill. But she is actually in her room She’s actually in there thinking about how wonderful her life is going to be.
Mrs. Mallard dies from the shock of seeing her husband. The doctors say she died from “the joy that kills.” We know Mrs. Mallard is no where near full of joy.
Situational irony-
Mr. Mallard was supposed to be dead, but isn’t.
Mr. Mallard lives and Mrs. Mallard dies.
Mr. Mallard dies and Mrs. Mallard cries because she’s happy. Pretty unexpected
Josephine is worried that Mrs. Mallard has locked herself in her room and is making herself ill. But she is actually in her room She’s actually in there thinking about how wonderful her life is going to be.

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