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The Mallards travel the world through their stereoscope, but Mrs. Mallard rarely leaves the house. Her health is said to be precarious, and she is shielded from stresses and strains.
The doctor examines Louise Mallard. He tells her that her heart is stabilized and that she is strong. He tells her she may leave the house and that she is strong enough to travel to Paris.
Louise Mallard attempts to move a heavy plant. Louise takes charge of her part of the world and can view the streets from her position. Her husband determines each event of her life.
Brently Mallard acknowledges that his wife is the most exquisite in the world. Louise learns about the outside world exclusively from her husband who makes his fortune in real estate.
Brently is not overjoyed to hear that Louise's doctor has given her a clean bill of health. At their usual time, Brently and Louise look at the stereoscope. Brently wants Louise to stay indoors.
Brently and Louise Mallard sit each night at six o'clock while Louise views the world through the stereoscope. She imagines herself in Paris with Brently while he tells her stories of his travels.
Louise prepares for the anniversary party in the same dress she sees in the stereoscope. She hopes to surprise Brently with the dress. Louise asks to accompany Brently on a trip; he refuses.
Louise listens to her guests toast the free Sout. The irony of her own "imprisonment" does not escape her. Louise hears a story about a widow who fares very well after the death of her husband.
Louise discusses Brently's concerns with her doctor. Louise confronts Brently about his anger. He tears up the stereoscope cards and then begs for forgiveness. Louise has a nightmare.
Louise watches the same, quiet routine of the household from her balcony. Brently is away for three or four days, their first separation. Louise hears news of her husband's death.
Maggie comforts Louise. Louise gains her composure as she looks about herself. Louise remembers her childhood with a drunken father. Louise understands that she is alone, but free.
As she strolls on her balcony, Louise hears birdsongs and a contented smile comes to her face. As she descends the stairs, her husband comes through the door. Louise collapses and dies.
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