The Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin describes the series of emotions that Louise Mallard endures after hearing the death of her husband. Brently, who was reported to have died in a train accident but eventually turns up alive towards the end of the story.
Mrs. Mallard suffers from heart problem, hence her sister Josephine and her husband’s friend, Richard attempt to inform her of the fatal news of her husband’s death in a gentle way, so as not to shock her too much. On hearing the news Mrs. Mallard makes way to her room upstairs in order to mourn the loss of her husband. She sits down and looks out of the window.
Suddenly, she sees the nature and the new life outside and while locked inside, a weird feeling comes over her and confusion follows immediately. She begins to feel an unexpected sense of exhilaration and yells “Free! Body and soul free!”
She rejoices at the thought of all the springs and summers she can enjoy without her husband. She would live for herself, without any oppression or a forceful bending of will to be imposed upon the spouse. She acknowledges that many-a-times, she has loved her husband and also not loved him numerous times.
Her sudden rush of exhilaration is what she believes to be the brighter side of her husband’s death. Along with all the excitement, Louise still grieved for her husband and knew that she will cry about it later. But at the moment, “She was drinking in a very elixir of life through that open window.”
Josephine comes up and begs her to open the door for she feared that Louise will become ill. Still in the triumphant mode, she opened the door to her sister and with the glitter in the eyes, she descended the stairs along with Josephine. Just then Brentley enters the house. He was saved from any suffering for he was far away from the scene of accident. Moreover, he wasn’t even aware of an accident to have taken place. Just one look at Brentley, Louise utters a piercing cry.
The doctor told that she had died of the heart disease of joy that kills.