Mrs. Mallard is a very sick woman who suffers from heart troubles. Josephine, her sister, is worried that the news she is about to tell her will kill her since her heart is on its last leg.
I'm home! Why do ladies look scared and confused?
Josephine and a friend of Mr. Mallard explain to Mrs. Mallard that her husband has died in a train accident.
After hearing this news, Mrs. Mallard goes up to her bedroom and cries soon realizing that she is free from marriage and being tied down.
I'm home! Where's my supper?!
Just after Mrs. Mallard finishes celebrating that she is now free to be happy, she and Josephine walk downstairs and find Mr. Mallard coming through the door who is not dead and was not affected by the incident.
Mrs. Mallard falls down and dies from a heart attack. The doctor comes and says that she has "died from a joy that kills." Everyone thought she was elated to see that her husband was alive, but we know she realized her freedom rein was over.
The theme of this story is marriage during different time periods. During the time of this story, marriages were arranged meaning there was no real love in the relationship. The husbands usually ruled the wives and treated them somewhat like slaves for example demanding dinner to be made as he returned home from work.