Being that I have read other stories by Kate Chopping, I automatically placed my mind set into the 1800s. She tends to write about women and embracing their sexuality and striving for the independence they are technically not entitled to, at the time, but according to her should have had.
With this short story I focused on the the last line.
“When the doctor came they said she had died of heart disease—of joy that kills.”
An immediate assumption would probably be that Mrs.Mallard died of a heart attack because she though her “beloved” husband had died and then just shows up on her door step. But I think differently.
Mrs. Mallard had like an automatic reaction of crying. However when she went to her room things changed. She started re-evaluating her life and current situation. Even though it was a rainy day, she saw all the beauties of the outside and describes it by using phrases such as “delicious breath,” “new spring life,” “patches of blue sky.” She then eventually realizes that her years “would belong to her absolutely.” To me that symbolizes how she views herself as her own person and not an extension of a man. She feels as if she is free to do as she pleases.
From the beginning the author states that Mrs.Mallard has “heart trouble” and although that is a medical condition, I feel like her heart troubles really emerge from all the suppression of emotions and lack of love.
So when they say she dies of joy that kills, I believe the true joy isn’t really that her husband is alive. But it’s actually the joy of realizing that she was so close to achieving that freedom that she yearned for and having it completely snatched away from her. She saw a new meaning to life and being stripped away from that realization ended up stripping her away from life and reality itself.
Overall I actually enjoyed reading this short story.