In "the story of an hour"
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Mrs. Mallard weeps with "sudden, wild abandonment" and then disappears to be alone. Mrs. Mallard’s sister Josephine and Mr. Mallard’s friend Richards believe she needs to be alone in her grief. She retreats to a comfortable chair in front of an open window—a place the reader is led to believe she frequently spends time in. As physical exhaustion overtakes her, Mrs. Mallard can do nothing but gaze at the scenes taking place outside the window. Strangely, the things she sees are not grim, but rather joyful. The new leaves on the trees sway in the breeze, and a "delicious breath of rain was in the air" (521). Perhaps the rain symbolizes the feeling of refreshment after tears have drenched the soul and washed away whatever sorrows it may have possessed. Chopin speaks of someone singing in the distance and birds "twittering in the eaves." This might correlate to the slow awakening within Louise’s spirit, as the birds break into song and the singing grows closer, the joy within her comes fully into being.
Mrs. Mallard seems to stare at the "patches of blue sky." as the blue sky breaks through the clouds, so does the realization of freedom burst into Louise’s soul. Fearfully, she tries to fight back what she feels; she "was beginning to recognize this thing that was approaching to possess her, and she was striving to beat it back with her will" (521-522). Finally, Louise gives in to her emotions and begins to whisper that she is now "free, free, free."
What reasons could Louise possibly have for being happy about her husband’s death? Was he a bad man? Did he physically, sexually, or emotionally abuse her? Any answer I might come up with would be pure speculation since the story is vague on this matter. I personally believe that her husband loved her very much. The story itself states that Mrs. Mallard would weep when she saw "the face that had never looked save with love upon her." However, the fact that her husband loved her does not necessarily mean that their marriage was a happy one. From Louise’s cries of "free, free, free," one could come to the conclusion that her husband was a very possessive person. He may have loved her, but he didn’t allow her to live her own life. In the time frame that this story was written, there was not much a woman could do if she were in an unhappy marriage. Divorce was rare, and women didn’t just speak their minds to their husbands.