Stylistic Devices in Good Country People by F. O’Connor and The Story of an Hour by K. Chopin
As a reader, I take an interest in various literary genres and techniques. Nevertheless, I usually attach much importance to the ability of the writer to characterize a person by depicting his/her actions or words. Additionally, the use of irony greatly appeals to me. In particular, one can speak about the incongruity between social expectations and the real behavior of an individual.
These literary elements are of great importance to me because the make readers to think more critically about the behavior of people described by the author. Additionally, they prompt the audience to question some of the assumptions and stereotypes that can be taken for granted. These stylistic devices can be better illustrated with the help of such short stories as Good Country People by Flannery O’Connor and The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin.
It is first possible to examine the narrative created by Kate Chopin who strongly relies on irony. The author depicts the experiences of a woman who learns the news about the alleged death of her husband. The readers may expect that this character will struggle with the extreme feeling of loss. Nevertheless, this woman feels enormous relief and even joy. In particular, she says, “Free! Body and soul free” (Chopin 10).
The readers not learn about the reasons for this response. The writer does not describe the protagonist’s relations with her husband. Yet, when the main character discovers that her husband has not perished, she dies of a heart attack. In contrast, other people assume that this heart attack can be explained by the joy of discovering that her spouse is alive.
Therefore, there is a sharp contrast between people’s assumptions and the real feelings of this woman. This technique is known as irony. In my opinion, the use of this technique can give rise to many thought-provoking questions about the behavior of fictional characters, their intentions, or attitudes. This is why the use of irony is of great interest to me.
Additionally, I would like to speak about the short story Good Country People written by Flannery O’Connor because this narrative provides a brilliant example of indirect characterization. In particular, one can speak about the way in which the author depicts a man named Manley Pointer. This person positions himself as a very religious and moral person.
Nevertheless, the readers learn that he is a thief who carries a whiskey bottle in a hollowed Bible (O’Connor 77). It should be noted that Flannery O’Connor does not assess the behavior of this character in a direct way.
Instead, she focuses on minor details showing that this person is a hypocrite who is not committed to the ideals that he proclaims. This example highlights the deceptiveness of people’s behavior. Flannery O’Connor was able to describe the inner world of this character without displaying her attitude towards him.
It is possible to say that the use of irony and indirect characterization may not necessarily produce a profound impression on the reader at once. Nevertheless, they make the audience reflect on the messages that the writer might have tried to convey.
Certainly, the examples that have been discussed do not illustrate all the literary techniques that appeal to me. Still, the stylistic devices that have been discussed are the most important components for me because they prompt a person to think more critically. These are the main arguments that can be advanced.
Chopin, Kate. The Story of an Hour: Short Story, New York: HarperCollins, 2014. Print.
O’Connor, Flannery. Flannery O’Connor Complete Stories, New York: Z. El Bey, 2009. Print.