One of the chief literary elements that are used in this excellent short story is the use of nature to mirror the thoughts and feelings of Mrs. Mallard as she reacts to the news of her husband's death. This pathetic fallacy is best seen in the way that the description of what Mrs. Mallard can see from her window matches perfectly the sense of new hope and new life she has now that her husband has died. Consider the following quote:
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.
Note the way that the description of the trees, "all aquiver with the new spring life," matches Mrs. Mallard's sense of newfound freedom that she feels now that her husband has given her new life. The timing of the seasons is particularly important here as well, as spring is a time of rebirth and of new growth after winter, which of course is very symbolic in terms of Mrs. Mallard's marriage and the sense of desolation and restriction she felt.