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she senses it and is aware of her own perspiration and heat. When she notices that it’s beginning to grow darker, she runs about the house closing windows and goes outside to retrieve the clothes that were hung out to dry. She goes outside and sees Alcee and then “the big rain drops began to fall” (). By “big rain drops” she means more perspiration because she grows anxious when she sees him. It’s no twist of fate that the storm and Alcee arrive at the same time. The rain came down so hard that they had to put something in front of the door in order to keep the water out. That signifies that Alcee can’t be kept out. The rain is coming down on the roof “with a force and clatter that threatens to break an entrance and deluge them there” (p. 225). The storm, Alcee, was so menacing that it threatened to ruin the house, and life, that Bobinot and Calixta have constructed together.
To unify the story under a central theme, Chopin both begins and ends with a statement about Louise Mallard's heart trouble, which turns out to have both a physical and a mental component. In the first paragraph of "The Story of an Hour," Chopin uses the term "heart trouble" primarily in a medical sense, but over the course of the story, Mrs. Mallard's presumed frailty seems to be largely a result of psychological repression rather than truly physiological factors. The story concludes by attributing Mrs. Mallard's death to heart disease, where heart disease is "the joy that kills." This last phrase is purposefully ironic, as Louise must have felt both joy and extreme disappointment at Brently's return, regaining her husband and all of the loss of freedom her marriage entails. The line establishes that Louise's heart condition is more of a metaphor for her emotional state than a medical reality.