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The Issue of Conflict in Selected American Short Stories of 20th Century

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The Issue of Conflict in Selected American Short Stories of 20th Century essay

In literature, authors set the main characters up for different challenges that they will have to overcome throughout the story. Many of these stories have similar conflicts that can be compared and contrasted to one another.

The protagonists in “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin, “A Worn Path,” by Eudora Welty, “A Rose for Emily” by William Faulkner, and “The Secret Lion” by Alberto Rios all struggle with society, supernatural, other characters, and themselves. The protagonists in each story face problems in society. Chopin informs the audience that the main character Mrs. Mallard struggles with this problem because she is living in a world controlled by men. Rios’s problem is that everyone wants the two protagonists to grow up but they are refusing to. Welty addresses the issue by demonstrating through Phoenix how racism and poverty were well known during the time the story took place. Faulkner unfolds to readers that the townspeople thought that Emily was too robust to marry someone like Homer Barron.

Secondly, the authors reveal that the protagonists have complications with the supernatural. Mrs. Mallard heart disease she developed. The little boys are upset because they do not want to grow older but aging is a involuntary humanly trait. Phoenix’s old age and terrible eyesight which she has no control over interferes with her journey. Emily’s father was very excessively protective over her which describes why she behaves the way that she does.

Problems with other characters is another conflict that the protagonists in each story face. Mrs. Mallard wants to be free from her husbands regulation but others will judge her. The resisting to age boys, had complications with their mom because she wanted them to stop acting like little kids. After arriving to the doctor’s office to pick up her grandson’s medication, the attendant at the front desk and the nurse both treat Phoenix as if she is a charity case due to her appearance. No matter what Emily did, the townspeople did not have any authority over her.

Each story also dealt with conflicts between themselves. Mrs. Mallard was her own problem because she wanted to complete her goal by being set free from her husband but the love she had for him was holding her back. The boys were aware that it was time to mature in life but their stubborness got the best of them. Phoenix struggles with herself because she talks to people that are non-existent due to being delusional. Emily isolated herself from the world after her father died and developed unusual behavior. In addition, “The Story of an Hour”, “A Worn Path”, “A Rose for Emily”, and “The Secret Lion” all encounter barriers with society, the supernatural, themselves and other characters that distracts them from their goal. Although the protagonists in Rios’s and Chopin’s story did not meet their goal, the other two characters in Faulkner’s and Welty’s story accomplish their goal.

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The Issue of Conflict in Selected American Short Stories of 20th Century. (2019, April 10). GradesFixer. Retrieved December 8, 2022, from
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