In Kate Chopin’s "The Story of an Hour", the main character, Mrs. Mallard, is a married woman with a heart condition. Her husband is away and news comes that he has perished in a horrific train accident. Her sister gently breaks the news to her, and silently, Mrs. Mallard rejoices. It turns out that she is not happily married and the thought of freedom from her bonds of marriage gives her joy. She assumes that she will be playing the mournful widow, but is she?
The Story of an Hour Summary - The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin
Free, free, free! Free, body and soul, free!
I've returned home from my trip. Why does everyone seem so shocked?
Mrs. Mallard is sickly and suffers from a weak heart. Her sister, Josephine comforts her, concerned that the news she is about to hear will kill her.
"She did not hear the story as many women have heard the same."
Josephine and Richards, a friend of Mr.Brently Mallard gently reveal that Mr. Mallard has been killed in a railroad disaster.
Mrs. Mallord, though grieving, realizes that she is now free from a marriage in which she wasn't truly happy. So though she mourns the death of her husband, secretly she's elated.
"And yet she had loved him - sometimes. Often she had not."
After Mrs. Mallard comes to the conclusion that she is now free to live a happy life, she and Josephine walk down, just as Mr. Mallard, unharmed by the tragic accident, comes through the door.
Mrs. Mallard collapses, dead. The Doctor said "that she had died of heart disease - of joy that kills." He thought she was so overjoyed to see him that she died. In reality, she realized her "freedom" was never to be, and that killed her.