How does the scene outside the window foreshadow the feelings that sweep over Mrs. Mallard as she sits in her chair in "The Story of an Hour"?

In "The Story of an Hour," the scene outside the window foreshadows the feelings that will later sweep over Mrs. Mallard by providing a symbolic counterpoint to her own character arc, with Kate Chopin showing a picture of life emerging in the spring. This symbolically mirrors Louise Mallard's own emotional journey that follows, given the traditional symbolism associated with spring and winter. Louise is soon transformed by an epiphany, taking intense joy from the agency which widowhood provides her.

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Mrs. Mallard's initial reaction to the news of her husband's death is intense and tumultuous grief. However, when this initial outburst has been spent, emotionally drained, Mrs. Mallard is shown settling into an armchair, looking out the open window.

Kate Chopin begins describing this scene outdoors with the following notable sentence:

She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life.

Note the seasonal imagery present here, shaped by the transition from winter into spring. Indeed, she's speaking about "new spring life," a detail which contextualizes the emergence of life in the context of the winter that precedes it. Symbolically speaking, this is an important detail, given that the two seasons, winter and spring, have been traditionally associated with themes of death and rebirth.

From here, we are shown images of life untouched by the tragedy of her husband's death (although, of course, in reality Mr. Mallard is still alive, a detail that proves important in the story's conclusion). Thus, the paragraph continues:

The delicious breath of rain was in the air. In the street below a peddler was crying his wares. The notes of a distant song which some one was singing reached her faintly, and countless sparrows were twittering in the eaves.

However, when reading this passage, you should keep in mind the ever-present subtext provided by the knowledge of the winter that comes before.

Thus, this scene does thematically foreshadow and mirror the emotional journey which Mrs. Mallard will embark on. At the moment, she is feeling grief for her husband's death, but soon that grief will turn into enthusiasm, as she is energized by the realization that, as a widow, she will possess a sense of agency that she had not previously known, in her existence as a wife in this male-dominated society in which she inhabits. Thus, the symbolism of new life emerging after winter's end mirrors Louise Mallard's own epiphany that stands at the center of Kate Chopin's story and the profound enthusiasm and joy which will follow her grief and loss.

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Just after Mrs. Mallard receives the (incorrect) news that her husband has died, she retreats to her bedroom and faces the scene from the room the two of them have shared for years. The details in this scene are worth noting:

The tops of the trees are just about to emerge in the "new life" of spring. A faint song reaches her. Birds chatter with life. Patches of blue sky emerge from a cloud-filled sky.

Everywhere she looks, Mrs. Mallard sees new possibilities and new hope. Like these images in nature, she begins to realize the fresh possibilities which await her following the death of her husband. She begins to sob, unable at first to name the emotion that surges up from her soul. Finally the words begin to take shape: "Free, free, free!"

Like those trees, Mrs. Mallard sees herself emerging into a new life, singing the songs of freedom, with the hope of leaving cloud-filled days behind her. She is overcome with emotion as she begins to embrace a newfound (and short-lived) freedom.

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There is so much foreshadowing in the description of what Mrs. Mallard sees outside her window:

She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life. The delicious breath of rain was in the air. In the street below a peddler was crying his wares. The notes of a distant song which someone was singing reached her faintly, and countless sparrows were twittering in the eaves (para. 5). 

There were patches of blue sky showing here and there through the clouds that had met and piled one above the other in the west facing her window (para. 6). 

In addition to the foreshadowing explained in the other responses, there are the sounds of the sparrows Mrs. Mallard hears, birds that are free to fly, while she has been a bird in a cage in her marriage. The "open square" is a reference to the open life she believes she can now have, and the clearing of the sky symbolizes how the clouds in her own life, i.e., her marriage, are now cleared away, or so she believes. Mrs. Mallard sees how she can now sing in happiness, like the birds or like the distant singer she hears below. And she can also smell the rain, which symbolizes not only spring and new life, but also cleansing, a way of cleansing herself from what was clearly an unhappy marriage.  

This is a wonderful use of foreshadowing, not only because of its careful choices of words that presage Mrs. Mallard's fleeting hope for freedom and new life, but also because of its vivid imagery.  Chopin appeals to the reader's sense of sight, smell, and sound in these passages, providing a fuller image of new life and freedom than just visual imagery would have accomplished. 

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In Kate Chopin's short story, Mrs. Mallard has just been informed of her husband's death. She retreats to her room, sits in her chair and gazes out the window. The scene is described as an "open square" where the "tops of trees were all aquiver with new life." "Patches of blue sky" were visible "through the clouds."

These sights parallel Mrs. Mallard's dawning feelings of freedom and possibility now that her husband is gone. She, too, feels aquiver with new life. What potential she sees for the future! In a few short paragraphs, she experiences the intense joy of freedom, then sees her hopes crushed when her husband returns home, alive and well, having missed the train that crashed fatally.

And  she dies, of what her doctors conclude is the "joy that kills."

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