One of the most powerful examples of repetition in the story is the wording chosen to open and close it.
Consider the first sentence:
Knowing that Mrs. Mallard was afflicted with a heart trouble, great care was taken to break to her as gently as possible the news of her husband's death.
And then the last:
When the doctors came they said she had died of heart disease—of joy that kills.
Chopin places these bookends on the story to focus on the core issue of concern: Mrs. Mallard's heart. Mrs. Mallard's trouble is both literal and metaphorical. She suffers from both a "disease" of the heart that affects her physical health, and she suffers from a lack of "joy," staying with her husband year after year solely out of a sense of duty. Her heart longs for freedom, and when she gets a glimpse of it, she cannot go back. Thus, Mrs. Mallard's "condition" progresses from simply giving her trouble in life, forcing her to look with dread upon a life she fears might be long, to a disease that kills her,...
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