At first Mrs. Mallards does feel shock because it is one of the most unexpected news one gets in life but the brief episode of grief is soon replaced by a sense of relief because nothing tastes as sweet as freedom. Even though Mrs. Mallards loved her husband, Mr. Mallards treated her as his property as did most of the men in those times. Mr. Mallards’ death meant Mrs. Mallards was finally out of the cage. She could lead her life as she wished rather than being at the command of her husband’s desires and wishes. She dreams all the things she would be able to do without Mr. Mallards that she could not before. Even though she feels relieved, grief does return from time to time because she still had feelings for Mr. Mallards. But as soon as Mrs. Mallards sees her husband alive, she passes away because she could not bear to lose her freedom again. The dreams she had just seen were too beautiful for her to let go so easily.
This story tells us about the state of love during author’s life. Love in those times was not a free choice but rather an obligation. Wives didn’t love their husbands because they wanted to but because they had to. Love was part of the obligations wives had towards their husbands and even then love would often be one-sided. Husbands treated their wives as property whom they could command as they wished. They didn’t bother to understand their wives desires and wishes because marriage to them didn’t have to be bound by love, just by a legal contract.