Structure

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Beginning

The short story begins in medias res, as Louise Mallard finds out about her husband’s death:

Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with a heart trouble, great care was taken to break to her as gently as possible the news of her husband’s death. It was her sister Josephine who told her, in broken sentences; veiled hints that revealed in half concealing. (p. 106, ll. 1-4)

The beginning also menti…

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Middle

Louise Mallard’s train of thought after hearing about her husband’s death creates tension. The physical setting also changes, as Louise moves into her room, where she is allowed to process the information in peace: “When the storm of grief had spent itself she went away to her room alone. She would have no one follow her.” (p. 106, ll. 13-15)

The tension rises further when Louise feels captured by a strange feeling:

There was 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. But she felt it, creeping out o…

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Ending

The short story ends with a plot twist when readers discover that Brently Mallard is actually alive:

Some one was opening the front door with a latchkey. It was Brently Mallard who entered, a little travel-stained, composedly carrying his grip-sack and umbrella. He had been far from the scene of the accident and did not even know there had been one. He stood amazed at Josephine’s piercing cry; at Richards…

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