In the story "He" (Author Katherine Anne Porter) What external conflicts does Mrs. Wipple face and what are her internal conflicts?

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lynnebh eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Mrs. Whipple is a woman with issues. She has external and internal conflicts. She has low self esteem and she is in denial about so many things internally. People that are at peace with themselves do not constantly worry about what other people think of them, as she does. Who cares if the neighbors come over and the house is not 100% clean? She is obsessive about cleanliness, another sign of internal conflict and misplaced priorities. She feels she has failed in some way because she has a mentally challenged son, and she is embarassed by him because it reflects poorly on her. It is all about her. She pretends that she loves him more than any of the other children, but in fact, she is again trying to make everyone think that she is noble, when in her heart, she is anything but. It is clear that her embarassment over having such a son has overshadowed the motherly love she should have for him. He does not even have a name in the story!

The external conflicts revolve around trying to make people think she is well-off, when she is not. She tries to impress her brother when he comes to visit. She tries to live above her means. She is also at odds with her husband. She thinks he is an eternal pessimist and she is the optimist, but she is a phony and really not an optimist.

There is a great study guide for this story here on eNotes.