Mallard receives grave news that her husband has been killed in a railroad accident it was told to her gently as she has "heart troubles". Immediately she weeps and goes upstairs to her room alone. In her room, "There stood, facing the open window, a comfortable, roomy armchair. Into this she sank, pressed down by a physical exhaustion that haunted her body and seemed to reach into her soul." There was no feeling of sadness, she felt joy and freedom. After her triumph of freedom began to wane, she set forth downstairs, where her sister, Josephine, and her husband's friend, Richards, were waiting for her. As she reached the end of the stairs, someone was opening the front door, it was Brently Mallard, Louise Mallard's husband. Out of utter shock she fell with a heart attack. In "The Story of an Hour", Kate Chopin incorporates irony, setting, and symbolic language to illustrate the impact of female oppression and male dominance on the lives of many women in the 18th century marriage and society.
Ironically Mrs. Mallard was set "Free! Body and soul free!" by the news of her husband's death, but was so shocked to see him alive she suffered from a fatal heart attack. After the news of his death she immediately began to cry, though any woman who truly loved her husband would not be able to believe such news and would have the shock that Louise Mallard suffered from after she finds that he is not dead. Her emotions were backwards, which shows how unhappy she was in her marriage. In her room she should have been mourning her husband's death, many women would think, but she instead relaxes in an armchair and looks out the window and "could see the tops of the trees that were aquiver with new spring lifeand countless sparrows were twittering in the eaves", as if the whole world is happy and everything is better now that Brently Mallard is gone.