At the beginning of the story, the author describes Mrs.Mallard as a woman having the distinctive trait of self-assertion which is constrained by her marriage. She seems to be the "victim" of an overbearing but occasionally loving husband. Being told of her husband's death, "She did not hear the story as many women have heard the same, with a paralyzed inablity to accept its significance." This shows that she is not totally locked into marriage as most women in her time. Although "she had loved him--sometimes," she unconsciously does not want to accept blindly the situation of being controlled by her husband. Mrs.Mallard is not a one-dimentional, clone-like woman having an expected, acceptable emotional response for every life condition.
Mrs.Mallard's rather uncommon reaction to the news of Mr.Brently Mallard's death logically foreshadows the complete revelation of her suppressed longing for freedom. Being alone in her room "When the storm of grief" is over, she experiences "something coming to her and she was waiting for it, fearfully. What was it? She did not know; it was too subtle and elusive to name." Finally, she recognizes the freedom she has desired for a long time and it overcomes her sorrow: "Free! Body and soul free! She kept whispering." In her soul, the dark clouds are disappearing because she is illuminated. All the memories of her husband are now of the past. She is living in the present. At this point, she is no longer