What are the internal and external conflicts in "The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin?

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Louise Mallard's external conflict is with a society that expects herself to define herself through her husband and bend herself to his will—and to be grieved when she hears a report of his death. More profoundly, she realizes that a wife can also bend a husband to her will. She rejects the idea that anyone has the "right" to impose their will or dominion on another.

Her internal conflict is between the grief she experiences over her husband's death—he was, after all, good to her—and the elation she feels once the first wave of grief passes: she is filled with relief and a sense of rising potential. Instead of being sad, as is expected, she becomes alive with all the possibilities before her as a single woman. For the first time in her adult life, she can do what she wants without having to consider another person. As happiness floods her, she begins to repeat over and over that she is "free, free, free!" She realizes that she is "Free! Body and soul free!"

Mrs. Mallard now hopes...

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Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on February 12, 2020