After reading Kate Chopin’s “The Story of an Hour”, readers are left in wonder as to what ultimately resulted in the death of Mrs. Louise Mallard. While the very end suggests heart disease as the culprit, further analyzation of the story points towards a few other, deeper and slightly more complex causes.
The first thing we learn about Mrs. Mallard is that she has heart trouble. This heart trouble turns is both mental and physical and is both within her body and the relationship with her husband, Brently Mallard. Her heart trouble is what makes the announcement of Brently’s death so threatening to her. Someone that has a weak heart would not be able to deal very well with such news. Therefore, the fact that Mrs. Mallard has heart problems proves to be a significant cause of her death.
Another contributing factor in Mrs. Mallard’s death may have been the reporting of her husband’s death. Mrs. Mallard’s sister, Josephine, announces that Brently was killed in a train accident. Mrs. Mallard’s reaction is not the same as a normal woman’s would be “with a paralyzed inability to accept its significance”. Instead, she weeps immediately, afterwards retiring to her own room. The news of Brently’s death reveals to Mrs. Mallard her freedom from the oppression she probably experienced while married to Brently.
The good intentions of Josephine might be another cause of Mrs. Mallard’s death. Josephine is the person who informs Louise of the bad news. Josephine tells Louise in broken sentences. Later, after Louise retires to her room, it is Josephine who is trying to check up on her, interrupting Louise’s realization and enjoyment of her newly found freedom. Together, they go downstairs, to Brently’s unexpected return and Louise’s death. The fact that Mrs. Mallard has heart trouble has an effect on the way that others have to treat her. Josephine’s awareness of her sister’s condition may have caused her to try and be as gentle as possible...