Analysis of Kate Chopin’s Irony
In most stories and poems, they tend to include irony. Irony plays a big role in stories, giving readers a gasp or a surprise for not expecting what is to come. Although there are many stories with irony in them, Kate Chopin’s “The storm” and “Desiree’s Baby” include a significant amount of irony. For example in the short story “ The storm” many important facts are hidden from the readers, only to show up at the end of the story, also Chopin uses irony with certain descriptions given throughout the entire story. In “Desiree’s Baby” Chopin talks about death, racism and heritage. Kate Chopin’s use of irony, is what make her beginnings, middle and endings all the more captivating.
Kate Chopin’s short story “Desiree’s Baby” has an inexplicable amount of irony. For example the story centers around race and heritage. In the text it states “The passion that awoke in him that day, when he saw her at the gate, swept along like an avalanche, or like a prairie fire, or like anything that drives headlong over all obstacles.” Armand is very prejudice to black people, he has fallen in love thinking that he would have a child with a white women and the outcome would be a white child. The irony is that after everything, he receives backfire from all of this because his child is not fully white. He later finds out this his ancestors were African and that is the real irony. Armand was in denial throughout the whole story, deep down I believe Armand knew this information, but kept it as a secret. Armand is afraid of what the public eye would perceive him as if they were to find out the truth. Armand holds power and a title, and he would not dare risk being caught red handed. Armand continues to punish Desiree and his child for his own mistakes. Armand later finds a letter written from his parents revealing that he has mixed blood, and then goes on to blame God for being this way. It is also ironic that once he found out his child was mixed, he made sure to tear Desiree down, not knowing he was going down with her. In the text it states “It is a lie; it is not true, I am white! Look at my hair, it is brown; and my eyes are gray, Armand, you know they are gray. And my skin is fair,” seizing his wrist. “Look at my hand; whiter than yours, Armand,” she laughed hysterically. “As white as La Blanche’s,” he returned cruelly; and went away leaving her alone with their child.” The end of the story is the real irony because Armand eventually loses everything, he has lost not only his wife and child but his family’s name.
Although race and heritage was the center of “Desiree’s Baby”, religion also played a part in the story creating even more irony. For example the text states “My mother, they tell me I am not white. Armand has told me I am not white. For God’s sake tell them it is not true. You must know it is not true. I shall die. I must die. I cannot be so unhappy, and live”. Although the story does not state that Desiree and her baby die, death and religion is the irony present. Desiree displays a sense of boldness in her attempts to defy her God, this is also irony because acting this way in the mid-nineteenth-century in Louisiana would have been considered heretical.
Kate Chopin’s “The storm” there are many signs of irony. For example Chopin writes “Calixta put her hands to her eyes, and with a cry, staggered backward. Alcee’s arm encircled her, and for an instant he drew her close and spasmodically to him.” Chopin’s tries to convince readers to feel bad for her, when in reality there is more to her than what meets the eye, as the saying goes. Throughout the whole storm Calixta is displaying her emotions, making readers believe she is worried about her child and husband. While they are dealing with the storm, Calixta’s true identity shows when she commits an act of adultery, even though she claims she is worried about her family during the storm.
Another sign of irony is the storm, and how it gave many opportunities. For example, Calixta would not have seen or committed any adultery if it were for the storm “She had not seen him very often since her marriage, and never alone,” so because of the storm, it gave her an opportunity to do “dirty work” and have an affair. Calixta eventually realizes that she is a mother and a wife, yet she continues to have an affair with Alcee. To furthermore, she pretends to show concern for her husband and child y, the text states “Oh, Bobint! You back! My! But I was uneasy. W’ere you been during the rain? An’ Bibi? he ain’t wet? he ain’t hurt? She had clasped Bibi and was kissing him effusively.” Another sign of irony in “The Storm” is Calixta’s four-year-old child (Bibi), he is perceived to be brave and he is not frightened by the storm. For example in the story, ‘Bibi laid his little hand on his father’s knee and was not afraid”, this is a comparison to Calixta, who is a grown woman and the mother of Bibi, ye she all control due to her own fears.
However, the relationship between Calixta and Alcee is much deeper than it appears, their acts of adultery and the passion they shared was because of the storm. The story ends with everyone happy and secrets kept. The storm is not only the setting, it is also the center of the irony. For example Calixta and Alcee find themselves in each other’s arms, then the story proceeds to explain and depict their sexual interaction, ultimately ending the story with a secret affair. From the beginning of the story to the climax then the end, the storm matches the scenery throughout the whole story. The last few stanzas in the story is the ultimate comparison to the storm. The text states “As for Clarisse, she was charmed upon receiving her husband’s letter. She and the babies were doing well. The society was agreeable; many of her old friends and acquaintances were at the bay. And the first free breath since her marriage seemed to restore the pleasant liberty of her maiden days. Devoted as she was to her husband, their intimate conjugal life was something which she was more than willing to forego for a while. So the storm passed and everyone was happy.” Concluding that “The Storm” is the real irony present.
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