Identify an external conflict in "The Birds" by Daphne du Maurier.

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The most demonstrative external conflict in the work is between Nat and the Birds.  This is external in nature as it pits two forces against one another.  Nat is experiencing a fundamental external challenge against the birds.  Their focus is to destroy him, while his is to stop them from accomplishing their purpose.  For Nat, this is external in nature.  The conflict between Nat and the birds is external because of its tension amongst both forces.  There is little in way of anything internal for Nat in this process, as everything is external.  This conflict is the basis of the novel.  It is the driving force of the narrative.  Nat's characterization is fulfilled as a result of this external conflict.  His struggle for survival is rooted in his defeat of the birds.  In this, one sees the basis for external conflict as it shows an individual battling with a force outside of himself.  Nat does not endure anything internal in trying to defeat the birds.  It is an entirely external conflict and a reflection of nature that is outside of oneself.  In presenting it in such a manner, du Maurier presents the most basic external conflict in the narrative as Nat against the birds.