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The Role of Conflict in Literature

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The Role of Conflict in Literature

(with particular emphasis being placed on The Wine of Astonishment)

Conflict is essential to stories. It is what makes the work interesting and without it, the plot will be weak since there is no problem which helps move the action along. Conflict is most often expressed through action or dialog and description. The following are some questions which will help you better understand the conflict of a story:

 How does the conflict originate?

 How does the conflict make characters feel?

 How do the characters handle the conflict?

 What is the conflict resolved?

 How do the characters feel when the conflict is resolved?

There are four (4) types of conflict. One or more may appear in a body of work.

 Man vs. Man (physical) - The leading character struggles with his physical strength against other men, forces of nature, or animals.

 Man vs. Circumstances (classical) - The leading character struggles against fate, or the circumstances of life facing him/her.

 Man vs. Society (social) - The leading character struggles against ideas, practices, or customs of other people.

 Man vs. Himself/ Herself (psychological) - The leading character struggles with himself/herself; with his/her own soul, ideas of right or wrong, physical limitations, choices, etc.

Objectives with particular (not sole) attention to The Wine of Astonishment and the character, Bee:

1. Explain the role of conflict in literary texts.

2. Analyze motives for characters' actions.

3. Deduce the impact of conflict on individuals in society.

4. Appreciate the role of conflict in the human experience.

What type of conflict does Bee face? (What types of conflicts do other characters face in the novel?) How does Bee (or the other characters) react to the conflict? How does Bee (or the other characters) propose to deal with the conflicts? What impact do these conflicts have on the characters in the novel? In light of the conflict, has/ have the character/s changed (for better or worse - what constitutes "better" or "worse")?

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