In “The Story of an Hour,” independence is a forbidden pleasure that can be imagined only privately. When Louise hears from Josephine and Richards of Brently’s death, she reacts with obvious grief, and although her reaction is perhaps more violent than other women’s, it is an appropriate one. Alone, however, Louise begins to realize that she is now an independent woman, a realization that enlivens and excites her. Even though these are her private thoughts, she at first tries to squelch the joy she feels, to “beat it back with her will.” Such resistance reveals how forbidden this pleasure really is. When she finally does acknowledge the joy, she feels possessed by it and must abandon herself to it as the word free escapes her lips. Louise’s life offers no refuge for this kind of joy, and the rest of society will never accept it or understand it. Extreme circumstances have given Louise a taste of this forbidden fruit, and her thoughts are, in turn, extreme. She sees her life as being absolutely hers and her new independence as the core of her being. Overwhelmed, Louise even turns to prayer, hoping for a long life in which to enjoy this feeling. When Brently returns, he unwittingly yanks Louise’s independence away from her, putting it once again out of her reach. The forbidden joy disappears as quickly as it came, but the taste of it is enough to kill her.