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Below the surface, however, Chopin shows how death, being considered the end of life, actually can mean the beginning of life. This would suggest that, to Mrs. Mallard, the end of her husband's life would mean the beginning of hers. Louise Mallard is finally free from the oppression of marriage that was so common in the 19th century. Kate Chopin uses symbolism, imagery, and irony to convey this idea.
The fact that everyone has a first name in the beginning of the story except Mrs. Mallard is symbolic of the nature that she is "owned" by her husband. She did not have an identity until after his death. She is not referenced as Louise until after she had experienced a realization of freedom and as soon as her husband reentered the scene she became the "wife" again. As she sat "facing the open window" is again symbolic of her newly found freedom. Louise felt as if nothing stood between her and the rest of the world now that her husband was gone. The characterization of Louise as having "a dull
stare" implying that she was "locked" inside herself only to be transformed to a "feverish triumph" after the death of her husband was evidence of her newly found freedom from an oppressive life.
Imagery plays another important piece in the story. At the very beginning the description of Louise as being "afflicted with a heart trouble" does not necessarily mean she has a physical illness. Her heart trouble appeared to be more of a psychological condition of depression, sadness, or perhaps the inability to feel the expected attachment to marriage. "That physical exhaustion that haunted her body and seemed to reach her soul" supports that the "heart trouble" was more about the oppression from her marriage than about her literal health.
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"An Ironic Hour." 123HelpMe.com. 29 Mar 2020
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It is often said that death ends suffering, and for Louise, this was the case. Her husband's supposed death ended her suffering for an hour and in the end her own death ended her suffering forever. By using symbolism, imagery and irony, Kate Chopin shows that death can be the beginning of life for some, just as life can cause the death of others.