In "The Story of an Hour" why does Mrs. Mallard seem happy about her husband's death?

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kiwi eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Mrs Mallard is relieved to be free of the oppressive institution of marriage. It is not so much that she disliked her husband, but that she was thrilled by the liberty his death would confer on her-

And yet she had loved him--sometimes. Often she had not. What did it matter! What could love, the unsolved mystery, count for in the face of this possession of self-assertion which she suddenly recognized as the strongest impulse of her being!

The happiness comes more from her being able to live independently, to be able to make her own choices and decisions and, as a widow, to have the means to live well enough without relying on anyone else.

The news of the death of her husband gives Mrs Mallard a new lease of life. She is energized and excited by the news, which, like the blue sky and the new buds on the trees, represents a new beginning-

 Spring days, and summer days, and all sorts of days that would be her own.

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The Story of an Hour

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