"The Story of an Hour' by Kate Chopin was written in 1894.
This is a three-page story that begins with the line, "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."
Her husband has been killed in a train accident and Mrs. Mallard immediately cries on hearing it, but asks for solitude and goes into another room. Over the course of the next hour, she suddenly sees the world outside her window as a more beautiful place. She embraces the new freedom that will be hers. "Free! Body and soul free!" she kept whispering.
She will not just be the handmaiden of her husband but can embrace a life with activities that interest her. She is a young woman and it is not too late to make her way in the world. The yoke that marriage puts around her neck is broken.
And then the door opens, and her husband comes in. He was not on that train.
Mrs. Mallard has a heart attack and dies.
There are lots of discussions of this story online. Some writers believe Chopin could only get this story published by having her punished at the end. No one at the time would accept a good woman could rejoice (somewhat) in her husband's death. I don't know if I feel her death is necessary or not. How would the story end otherwise? Would she pretend to be happy her husband is okay? Or would she begin plotting his future death now that she understands herself?
A beautifully written story that says so much in three pages.