At the beginning of the story, Mrs. Mallardreceives the news of the death of her husbandBrantley Mallard. It was her husband’s friendRichards who brought the bad news and madesure it was certain. Her sister Josephine toldher the news in a very gentle way becauseMrs. Mallard was suffering from a heartproblem. Mrs. Mallard wept at once becauseof the surprise. But when the storm of griefhad spent itself she went away to her roomalone for an hour.
During this hour she kept thinking of thefreedom which the death of her husband hasbrought her. She was overwhelmed by joy at thethought of a new liberated life. Because sherecognized the possession of self-assertion as thestrongest impulse of her being, the death of herhusband signaled her release from the bondage ofmarriage. “There would be not one to live forduring those coming years; she would live forherself,” she thought. Ironically, her sisterJosephine was afraid that Mrs. Mallard would killherself with grief. She did not know that she wasliving the only hour of happiness in her life.
Finally, Mrs. Mallard leaves her room anddescends the stairs with her sister whensuddenly the door opens and her husbandappears. He was not in the train that made theaccident. Ironically again, Mr. Richard tries tohide him from the view of his wife. But Mrs.Mallard dies. The doctors think that she died ofjoy, which we know is a wrong diagnosis. In fact,she died of sadness because her dreams of afree life collapse.
The story is told from the point of view of athird-person narrator.
The story happens in Mrs. Mallard’shouse, mostly in her room. The action takes an hourand it’s springtime. This story is a masterpiece ofsetting. The author creates the setting in such a wayas to reflect the feelings of main character. Uponhearing the news of husband’s death, Mrs. Mallardretreats into her room alone. There, she feels for thefirst time in control of herself. She sits in front of theopen window, which represents the new free life. Thesights and sounds that reach her from the window areall associated with spring life. Spring is the time ofrenewal and rebirth, which reflects her state of mindduring that hour.
UNHEALTHY MARRIAGES THAT DEPRIVE WOMEN OF THEIR INDEPENDENCE This short story tells of the deep feelings of a woman who dislikesthe bondage of marriage and suffers from the suppression of herhusband. Mrs. Mallard welcomes the news of the death of herhusband with great joy. The news represents for her the end of thetime of repression and the new possession of her freedom and controlof her life. The hour between her receiving the news and the arrival ofher husband is the happiest hour in her life. She keeps thinking of thefreedom which the death of Mr. Mallard brought her. The story tells ofthe women’s oppression by men. In some marriages, like that of theMallards,’ the husband tries to repress his wife’s feelings and hopes, toimpose his will and his own way of thinking on her, depriving her of herindependent selfhood. This story shows that some husbands treattheir wives as trivial objects, of no significance, and of no existence oftheir own, revealing the harmful effect of this kind of relationship onwomen.
Irony is the gap between what the characters know and what thereaders know, or the gap between what is expected to happen and whatreally happens The story begins with the irony that Mr. Richards and Josephine, Mrs.Mallard’s sister, are very cautious in telling Mrs. Mallard the news of thedeath of her husband. They did not know that the news will bring herhappiness. It is ironical that her sister is afraid that Mrs. Mallard would die of griefin her room alone. She does not know that this was the happiest hour inher life. At the end of the story, when the husband returns suddenly, Mr.Richards tries to hide him from the view of his wife. This is ironical. Hethinks that the extreme joy may affect her troubled heart. He does notknow that the return of her husband is not a source of joy for her. Ironically, the doctors’ diagnosis is that she died of joy. Actually, theshock and the grief that she feels because of her husband’s appearance isthe cause of her death.
A symbol is something that represents orstands for something else, especially a concreteobject representing something abstract. The Open Window The open window is a symbol of the freedomthat Mrs. Mallards thinks will have after thedeath of her husband.