There are several examples of symbolism used in the story. Here are the prominent ones:
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Death seems to be looming over the Mallard household. The story begins with the news of the death of Brently Mallard and ends with the eventual death of Louise Mallard.
All through the story, it seems like death is following the Mallard household and waiting to find its victim. Even though we learn about the fragility of Louise’s heart, it is a sudden accident that seems to take away the first life in the story.
It turns out to be a misinformed rumor and eventually, the only death that occurs is due to a health condition. It also comes at the moment that people expect it the least, at the announcement of some good news (Brently returns alive).
Window Inside the Closed Room
While Louise has locked herself inside the room she peers out of the window to see bustling life. This symbolizes that even in death she has a new life.
She does not see her husband’s death as a loss but an opportunity gained to free her inner desires. The writer suggests that this freedom is dearer to Louise than a loving husband or marital bond.
This also ties into the materialistic and individualistic concept of existence where an individual’s desires are valued over familial bonds or relationships. Interestingly, the reaction of Brently to his wife’s death is not shown.
Affairs of the Heart
Louise is suffering from heart troubles but it turns out it symbolizes more than a physical ailment. As the heart is used as a symbol of emotion and affection, it is actually her diminishing love for her husband and marriage that is being signified in the story.
In other words, her heart is losing the connection she feels to her marriage. It also highlights her vulnerability in terms of emotional health.