The final paragraph of "The story of an Hour" is a short, one-line sentence, but contains the final and most important irony of this short story. The doctors knew that Louise died of a heart condition, and made the collective assumption that the overwhelming joy she experienced upon the unexpected return of her husband, Brently, was simply too much of a shock on her weak heart. Of course, the reader understands this not to be true. "Free! Body and soul free!" as stated in paragraph 16 sums up the feelings she began having shortly after the news of her husbands death. While she sat alone in her room, her true feelings of liberation were felt. Shortly afterwards, as she was led down the stairs by her sister, Josephine, the sudden appearance of her husband caused such an immediate and painful sadness, that she would never again regain consciousness. These feelings were only known to Louise, though, and had not yet been expressed to anyone else. Without knowledge of her true feelings, the natural inclination would be to attribute her heart failure to "joy", not "sadness". Everyone within the story believes she would have wanted to see her husband alive.
"Now her bosom rose and fell tumultuously. She was beginning to recognize this thing that was approaching to possess her, and she was striving to beat it back with her will." What Mrs. Mallard feels was "approaching to possess her" and why she tries to "beat it back" is intricately described by Kate Chopin. Chopin describes Louise as said to "not hear the story as many women have heard the same," and whispering the word "free, .
free, free," over and over under her breath. She continues on, how men and women often inhibit one another whether it be over kind intentions or cruel ones always having to respond, or react to in some fashion, towards another person's intent. What was "approaching to possess her" is the overwhelming feeling of being free.