What is the initial incident of this story?
The inciting event is that which begins the problem in a story. In "The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin it is the "sad message" brought by Mr. Mallard's friend Richard that Bently Mallard has been killed in a railroad disaster that forms the inciting event.
When Mrs. Mallard hears this tragic news, she cries immediately and stands "paralyzed." But, although very distraught, she wants no one to follow her to her room. Ironically, it is there, in the privacy of her bedroom, that Mrs. Mallard releases her emotion. This emotion is not mourning, however; instead, Mrs. Mallard feels as though a weight has been lifted from her. Now, she looks out the window and sees the tops of trees, the blue sky, and she hears the sounds of Spring. The words "free! free! free!" escape her lips. Now, the "sad message" does not appear to affect Mrs. Mallard as one would expect. But, things change as the story progresses.