The conflict that rages within Lucy Honeychurch is the choice to follow the expectations of society, her mother and her husband-to-be by becoming the kind of woman they expect her to be or to choose to break free from the restrictive and oppressive view of women that they possess and forge her own way in society. At the beginning of the novel, it is clear that the forces ranged against Lucy Honeychurch are powerful. Miss Bartlett is of course a chief agent in trying to ensure Lucy does not operate differently to the way that society expects her to operate. As Lucy becomes engaged to Cecil Vyse, she again tries to conform her character to the way that she feels she should act, all the while ignoring the powerful change and the process of awakening that began within her after her trip to Italy. Note how Mr. Beebe
There was simply the sense that she had found wings, and meant to use them. I can show you a beautiful picture in my Italian diary: Miss Honeychurch as a kite, Miss Bartlett holding the string. Picture number two: the string breaks.
This shows how Lucy has changed and also it identifies the potential Mr. Beebe implicitly recognises with her. If she were allowed to free herself from the rules and social conventions of society, he clearly feels she would be able to achieve something amazing. This likewise corresponds with his view that if Lucy were able to "live as she plays" the piano, the result would be something fascinating. Lucy's conflict in this novel therefore is to live the life that everybody else wants and expects her to live or to be true to herself and live the life she wants to live herself.