What is the conflict in "The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin?the central event 

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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"The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin primarily deals with Mrs. Mallard's discovery that her husband has just died.  Chopin's story addresses a conflict between the societal expectations for women's roles and Mrs. Mallard's own personal desires for freedom and self-expression.  The reader experiences almost the entire story through Mrs. Mallard's hopes and thoughts upon hearing the news of her husband's untimely death, and her joy that she may now live "free, free, free!"

Mrs. Mallard lives in a time of strict social conventions, and she has felt controlled and dominated by her husband her entire marriage.  After she learns of his demise, her feelings are celebratory, and she imagines the many things she many do and see now that he is gone. 

Chopin resolves this conflict unhappily for Mrs. Mallard when the character dies of a heart attack after learning that her husband has not died after all.