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“Into this she sank, pressed down by a physical exhaustion that haunted her body and

seemed to reach into her soul.”


She was devastated to hear about her husband’s death. This is a form of “the Symbolic”,
according to Lacan. The act of weeping signifies either grief or joy. Immediately after
learning about her husband being dead, it is natural to assume that Mrs. Mallard’s
weeping is due she is devastated.

“She was beginning to recognize this thing that was approaching to possess her, and she
was striving to beat it back with her will--as powerless as her two white slender hands
would have been.”
There we can appreciate that, Mrs. Mallard’s ego, also demonstrates the conflict often
going on between the id (libido), ego and superego. This is shown when Mrs. Mallard
starts to process her long oppressed emotions, after accepting her husband’s death.

“There would be no one to live for during those coming years; she would live for herself.
There would be no powerful will bending hers in that blind persistence with which men
and women believe they have a right to impose a private will upon a fellow-creature.”
This image that Mrs. Mallard projects what Lacan would call “the Mirror Stage” in his
theories. Mrs. Mallard feels trapped in her marriage; therefore, she believes that there
is this inner self that hasn’t got the chance to spread its wings. The personality traits,
such as strength and “suspension of intelligent thought” are how Mrs. Mallard illustrates
her unexposed ego.

“It was Brently Mallard who entered, a little travel-stained, composedly carrying his grip-
sack and umbrella. He stood amazed at Josephine's piercing cry; at Richards' quick
motion to screen him from the view of his wife.
When the doctors came, they said she had died of heart disease--of the joy that kills.”
This serves as the Imaginary in Lacan’s theory. As for the symbolic, the description of
“joy that kills” signifies the impression that Mrs. Mallard’s heart attack was due to the
excitement of joy. However, the Real, is that Mrs. Mallard did not die of joy, but in fact,
a deeper, and quicker attack of devastation and disappointment.
The theory of psychoanalysis is applied in this story, which shows us that not everything
is what it seems, we can think something about others, assuming how they feel, what
they think, Lacan would call "the stage of the mirror", where we can show a side of us
for people, a form of which, we want them to think that we are, on the other hand, with
Freud's theories, we can see in the story that, despite the pain of loss, she still has
desires for something more , desires that previously omitted, but "when she begins to
feel free", these desires, return to her.