|Plot Summary of Story of an Hour by Kate Chopin|
|Summary of Story of an Hour Section II|
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Suddenly, Mrs. Mallard begins to feel something coming over her, a feeling or sensation that came to her “creeping out of the sky, reaching toward her through the sounds, the scents, the color that filled the air” and it almost seems that the springtime itself becomes completely apparent to her. She takes a deep breath and before she realizes it, she begins repeating to herself the words, “free, free, free!” as the glassy and vacant look disappears from her eyes. Although for a moment she knows she will be sad when she sees her husband’s corpse during the funeral with the face hat had “never looked save with love upon her” actually dead, she still sees that her coming years would belong to her completely and she “opened and spread her arms out to them in welcome.”
She reflects on this for a few moments and admits that she did love her husband sometimes, but with the powerful understanding that she is finally free to live her own life, this means little. Just as she is thinking about her newfound freedom her sister begins begging her to open the door, telling her she will make herself ill. Mrs. Mallard responds that she is fine and the narrator states that at that moment she “was drinking in a very elixir of life through that open window.”
Eventually she gives in and allows Josephine, who looks triumphant, to open the door and lead her downstairs where Richards is waiting by the door, which is being opened with a latchkey. The person entering the house is none other than Brently Mallard, her husband whom she thought was deceased and who seems confused by the piercing cry of Josephine and Richard’s quick attempt to conceal his entrance from Mrs. Mallard, supposedly to avoid giving her heart a kick. It turns out he had been far from the accident and did not even know about it.
Without offering narration about the events of what happened, the story ends, just as it begins, with one important sentence that relates that Mrs. Mallard “died of heart disease” and of “a joy that kills.” The reader is left to assume that this is how everyone thought of her—that she was simply overjoyed and it gave her heart a lethal boost, but it is clear that there is an alternate explanation—that it was shock and sadness, just as she had glimpsed her freedom.