How would you describe the state of Mrs. Mallard´s mental health up until the time she heard the news of her husband´s death?

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This is an interesting question. Readers are told in the first paragraph that Mrs. Mallard was gently told about the news of her husband's death, and the first paragraph is only a single sentence long. This means that readers have to infer about her mental state based on her reaction...

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This is an interesting question. Readers are told in the first paragraph that Mrs. Mallard was gently told about the news of her husband's death, and the first paragraph is only a single sentence long. This means that readers have to infer about her mental state based on her reaction to her husband's death and based on how gently she had to be told.

It makes sense that her friends and family members would tell her gently this terrible news. How else are they likely to give this news? It surely wouldn't be casually, caustically, jokingly, or venomously. Gently breaking the news to her makes sense regardless of her heart condition.

If she truly had a physical heart condition, it does make sense that her mental condition might be suffering too. A person's overall health is based on a person's physical health, mental health, and emotional/spiritual health. Think of it like a triangle. If one aspect of the health triangle is weak, it throws off the entire shape of the structure. It's not uncommon for physical ailments to trigger depression or depression like symptoms. Mrs. Mallard isn't likely to have a strong mental state of mind with a potentially lethal heart condition.

Eventually, readers figure out that Mrs. Mallard's marital life wasn't an emotionally happy place. She is sad that her husband is dead; however, she is excited for this new chapter free of his presence. Readers are given a picture of her married life that indicates she is quite repressed. If she is happy about being single again, then it leads readers to assume that her mental and emotional state was previously quite depressed and limited.

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I would say that Mrs. Mallard's mental health was clearly in a very poor state before she heard of her husband's death.

The first thing that we are told about Mrs. Mallard is that she has heart trouble and that she therefore has to be told very carefully about her husband's death.  This seems odd in a woman who is still young.  I assume that her heart trouble is related to her mental state.

We are also told that she has lines on her face that "bespoke repression."  (I am assuming that they were there from her life before she heard of her husband's death.)  That implies that her life is tough enough to leave her with wrinkles on her face when she is still young.  This, too, shows us that her mental state is probably pretty shaky.

However, we do know that she has a look of strength about her.  Perhaps that is why she has been able to survive in a marriage that is clearly not fulfilling her needs.

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