For class I have to put examples of the following conflicts: man vs man, man vs nature, man vs society, and man vs himself.Sorry if it's hard to understand. Thanks SOOOO much for helping me!...

For class I have to put examples of the following conflicts: man vs man, man vs nature, man vs society, and man vs himself.

Sorry if it's hard to understand.

Thanks SOOOO much for helping me! Literature is definitely not my strongest subject!

4 Answers

doctorthompson's profile pic

doctorthompson | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Adjunct Educator

Posted on

Harper Lee's novel is all about boundaries and crossing those boundaries, which results in conflict.  Perhaps the most important conflict in the whole novel, the one that frames all the others, is the racial conflict inherent in the 1930's era Lee portrays; thus, man vs. society becomes important.  Tom Robinson, a black man accused of raping a white woman, faces the white society in an openly closed court.  He faces a jury, not of HIS peers, but of his accusers' peers.  This was common in both the pre-desgregated South and the 1960's South when the book was published.

Man vs. man comes into play as mentioned below, but also with the children trying to make Boo Radley come out.  Until the climax of the story, this conflict seems to mirror the conflict mentioned above.  Boo has been "chained to his bed" for years, becoming a social outcast, just as Tom Robinson.  The children just want to see Boo for what he really is, just as Atticus wants Maycomb to see both Tom and Bob Ewell for what they really are.

Man vs. nature can be seen when it snows for the first time.  Mr. Avery believes this is a result of children acting up and leads to Scout and Jem creating one of the more important symbols in the novel:  the snowman.  The children battle with the snow as there is not enough snow to make a "real" snowman.  Improvising, Jem makes the foundation of the snowman with dirt and covers it with snow.  This should be remembered when Scout and Jem are discussing the idea of race and how one never knows if he has negro blood unless he traces his ancestors all the way back to the Old Testament.  In effect, we all have some minority blood in us.

Dill is the epitome of man vs. self.  As his story unfolds, we see that he is an unhappy child who feels unwanted at home.  He is jealous of the Finch children because of the attention, albeit sometimes unwanted, Atticus pays to his children.  Dill wants to be closer to the children, however, so he can feel the love the children take for granted.  His lies, his running away, and his vow to marry Scout all illustrate the struggle he faces when he is at his own house. 

auntlori's profile pic

Lori Steinbach | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Probably the overriding conflict or struggle in To Kill a Mockingbird is man vs. society.  The entire premise of the novel is the battle for justice in the face of society's prejudice.  There are so very many examples in each of these categories, and I couldn't possibly note them all for you.  What I will do is give you several examples of each, and I'm hopeful you'll be able to take it from there.

man vs man - Bob Ewell vs.Atticus, Mayella Ewell vs.Tom Robinson, cousin Francis vs. Scout, Boo Radley vs. Bob Ewell, Mrs. Dubose vs. Jem, several students vs. Miss Caroline, the Cunningham bunch vs. Tom Robinson...and many more. 

man vs nature - Miss Maudie vs. fire, Atticus vs. Ol' Tim Johnson (the rabid dog)...and several more.

man vs society - Maycomb vs. the Blacks, Maycomb vs. the Ewells, Dolphus Raymond vs. Maycomb...and others.

man vs himself - Atticus taking this case and protecting Boo from a trial, Jem coming to grips with the mindless prejudice of his town, Scout needing to demonstrate self-control many times, Mrs. Dubose battling her addiction, Dill never telling the truth...and many more. 

In short, look at a list of characters and see what conflicts surrounded them.  Minor characters as well as the major characters all experience some kind of inner or outward struggle as the novel progresses.  I've included several e-notes links below which I think you'll find helpful, as well.  You can do it!

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clairewait | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

Posted on

Man vs. Self: Dolphus Raymond's lie to the town and subsequent denial of his true self; the hypocrisy (and two-facedness) of the ladies at the Missionary tea.

Man vs. Man AND Society: Mayella vs. her father because what she has done is not socially acceptable.


mwestwood's profile pic

mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

Man vs. Society - The children's innocence and idealism comes up against the nebulous lines drawn by adults regarding religion and charity, neighborly behavior, parenthood, acceptance of differences in people, and justice.