Mallard has a heart condition that everyone seems to know about, and they want to give her some tragic news gently. Mr. Mallard is supposedly dead and this comes to Mrs. Mallard at an unexpected moment in her life. She is very much in shock and has to be alone. The reader interprets her grief as a symbol of her love and devotion to her husband, although throughout the story, the reader begins to understand her true feelings and the joy she feels toward the news of Mr. Mallard's death. Mrs. Mallard has dealt with repression of women's life, and the death of her husband makes her realize how precious freedom is.
"The Story of an Hour" is both a liberating story as well as a tragic story. Mrs. Mallard's situation is probably not unusual as one might think, but one would think she is cold-hearted and mean. Mrs. Mallard is definitely not a mean person. Her devotion to her husband is not without limit. It seems she has grown accustomed to her husband and remains with him out of sympathy for herself and the traditional way, which is marriage, is sacred. Mrs. Mallard's emotions are so subtly eluded. As she sits in a chair, starring blankly out the window, the reader suspects her true feelings. The narrator observes that, "There were patches of blue sky showing here and there through the clouds that had met and piled above in the west facing her window" (182). The reader recognizes the blue sky as hope. The reader's suspicions are confirmed when Mrs. Mallard sits in a chair chanting to herself, "free, free, free" (182). It is obvious that she has been liberated through her husband's misfortune; however Mrs. Mallard is not completely without care. She admits the she will cry again at Mr. Mallard's funeral (182).
Mrs. Mallard sees the coming grief as temporary and looks hopefully to the future of self-discovery and freedom. She sees her freedom "with the new spring life" (182). Mrs. Mallard is finally free and ready to experience true happiness, even though "she had loved him sometimes" (183).