Example research essay topic: Irony, Symbolism, And Foreshadowing As Literary Elements – 879 words

Among Kate Chopins most impressive works is the
short story entitled The Story of an Hour. This
work best displays the importance of literary
elements on the overall unified affect. Through
the use of irony, symbolism, foreshadowing and
paradox, the reader can grasp a better
understanding of the main focus of the story.
These literary elements are essential in the
artistic style of the story. The story opens with
the foreshadowing of the main character, Mrs.
Mallards, death. The author initially informs the
reader of the womans heart condition to allow for
further developments later in the story. Through
the paradox, the joy that kills, Chopin alludes
that in the end it will be Mrs.

Mallards joy that
is the cause of her demise. Mrs. Mallards reaction
to the news of her husbands death gives reason to
believe that she had already accepted the death of
her marriage. The end of their relationship did
not come as a shock and she was able to accept its
significance, something a devoted wife could not
do. This is why Mrs. Mallard was able to
instantaneously begin to grieve and to weep with
wild abandonment.

Within minutes, upon entering
her room, she was struck by a calming peace, and
was overcome by a feeling of control and serenity.
The feeling that possessed her is symbolic of the
change that she could not contest; the unrelenting
factor that fate plays in a persons destiny. The
imagery that aids in the plot and meaning of the
story is that of nature. There is a direct
correlation between the time of renewal and
rebirth in nature and the reawakening of the
womans freedom. Although the death of a person is
typically associated with seasons of death,
Brently Mallards supposed death takes place in the
spring. As she looks out the window, Mrs. Mallard
is confronted by the freshly fallen rain, and the
newly grown trees, all symbolic of her new-sprung

The clouds, a metaphor for the shadows
that hovered over her marriage, begin to part and
make way for a fresh beginning. The structural
symbols in the Mallard household, are further
demonstrations in the struggle between dominance
and submissiveness. Contrasting with the outside
world, the interior of the house is a prison,
meant to keep Mrs. Mallard withdrawn from the
world. The doors are also symbols of confinement
and limitations. Behind closed doors, Mrs.

is free to do as she pleases without the judgement
and agitation of others. She alone can lock and
unlock her door, with this being her only means of
controlling her own life. Once open, she
unwillingly lets go of her dreams and enters into
harsh reality. Yet another example of the
symbolism is the layout of the house. There is an
elevation difference between the common portion of
the house on the lower level and Mrs. Mallards
bedroom upstairs.

From her room she can look out,
as if from the clouds and from a place of freedom.
Upon leaving her sanctuary, she proceeds to
descend the stairs; a journey from her heaven into
hell. The ironic events that take place throughout
the story lead readers to believe that there is
something concealed that only they know of.
Through the point of view of the narrator, it
seems as if there is an inside look into the minds
of the main character that the other characters do
not have. An instance of dramatic irony is clearly
evident in the story. As Mrs. Mallards reaction
seems to be normal to the others involved, we know
that in fact, she has a much different internal
reaction to the news. Behind closed doors, Mrs.
Mallard rejoices in her newfound freedom.

to what the others think, she is not mourning the
loss of her husband in the typical way a wife
would. Another element of irony is Mrs. Mallards
contemplation of what is to come in her future.
Days earlier, she had no aspirations and wanted an
end to her unhappiness. What would seem to be an
answer to her prayer, and a new beginning, ends in
her demise. The events of the conclusion lead the
others involved to believe that Mrs. Mallard
passed away from joy.

Only the reader knows the
truth in that she in fact died of sorrow. The only
salvation she could find was in death.In a
critique of her work, Bert Bender described
Chopins writings as a lyrical expression of a
womans shockingly unorthodox feelings about her
marriage. He continued to describe her work in a
way that would lead you to believe that the ideas
for her works were directly from her own personal
experiences. However Chopins finest works contest
this concept. Chopins works may have reflected her
own life to an extent. If this were the case, she
allowed her stories contradict themselves.

are a few works that show relationships that are
not regressive or destructive. Literary techniques
are a fundamental factor without which the story
would not be intelligible. It would be
increasingly more difficult to grasp the meanings
behind the thoughts of the characters. The ideas
portrayed in The Story of an Hour and in the
criticism show the effectiveness of literary
elements in the unifying experience of a short

Research essay sample on Irony Symbolism And Foreshadowing As Literary Elements