Louise Mallard suffers with a weak heart. Her sister Josepine comforts Louise, scared that the news she is about to hear will kill her.
Josephine and Richards a friend of Louise's husband reveal to Louise that her husband Mr.Brently Mallard has been killed in a railroad accident
Mrs. Mallard, through her grief, realizes she is free from the marriage she was not truly happy in. Although she misses her husband she is happier to have found her new independence.
After Louise finally absorbs the reality of her new independent and "free" life, she and Josephine walk down the steps just as Mr.Mallard, unharmed by the accident enters through the door.
I've returned from my trip. Why is everyone so shocked?
Louise suddenly collapses, dead. The Doctor said, "she had died of heart disease of joy that kills." Everyone believed she was overjoyed by the sight of her husband when in reality she was shocked to see her freedom ripped away from her.
To everyone around the Mallard's, they were a happy couple who loved each other very much. While that may have been true some of the time, most of the time Louise would dream of her independence. This shows how not every relationship is perfect and sometimes people want different things.