One type of external conflict arises when a main character is in conflict with another character (person vs. person). Another type of external conflict arises when a main character is in conflict with nature (person vs. nature). Person vs. society is where a character has a problem with some element of society such as school, laws or some other accepted way of doing things. At other times, a character may be doing battle with uncontrollable problems. If the problem appears to be an unbelievable coincidence, fate can be considered the cause of conflict.

A character may be experiencing internal conflict (person vs. self) and seems torn in two different directions. It is possible for a main character to be experiencing more than one type of conflict. By the end of a story, the character facing a conflict succeeds or fails in achieving his/her goal, or solving his/her problem.

The way a conflict is solved is called the resolution. Every conflict has a resolution. Conflict and resolution are part of a story’s plot or main action.

Tension is a product of conflict. A good story needs conflict and tension. A good writer is able to keep the tension in a story “as taut as a bow string.”

Example response:

In the novel Ten Steps to Eden, identify the conflict, quote directly from its text and provide further support for your quote. Use the example that follows as your guide.

Note, in the first sentence, the novel’s title and author is stated. The second sentence introduces the quote. The third sentence states the quote. The fourth and fifth sentences explain the type of conflict the quote illustrates and provides further support for the quote.

I am presently reading Adam Andeve’s novel, Tens Steps to Eden. On page 30, the protagonist/detective Mike Barkley, is torn between arresting his best friend Brett Collins for murder, or destroying the incriminating evidence against Collins. “Tyrone Beers got what he deserved. Why should I arrest Brett for seeing justice is done?” Mike Barkley is clearly in conflict with himself. Person vs. self is evidenced here when Mike is confronted with what he sees, as a moral dilemma.

In the novel Freak the Mighty, identify at least one example of conflict, quote directly from its text and provide further support for your quote. Use the example from above as your guide.

From: Teacher Tested Educational Publications, Tangerine: A complete self-directed novel study.