The Story of an Hour
How we cite our quotes:
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. (1)
Death hovers over this story from the beginning. It's not just that one person has suddenly died; it's that just the news of that death has the potential danger of killing another person. Mrs. Mallard's friends are worried she could die of shock. Every piece of news has the potential to be lethal.
She wept at once, with sudden, wild abandonment, in her sister's arms. (3)
Mrs. Mallard starts crying immediately when she finally finds out what happened to her husband. Her grief is "wild" and "abandon[ed]," which from the outside certainly makes it look like she really loved her husband and is devastated that he's gone.
She could see in the open square before her house the tops of trees that were all aquiver with the new spring life. (4)
Even though Mrs. Mallard is deeply saddened by the life that's been lost, all around her life goes on. Her husband has died, but all she can see from her window are signs of "new spring life." Spring itself, of course, usually signifies rebirth, so it's extra ironic that her husband would die during this time of year.