Conflict question for magazine articleThe task:You have been asked to submit a column piece for a magazine intended for senior secondary school students.  How do I write a intro and conclusion...

Conflict question for magazine article

The task:You have been asked to submit a column piece for a magazine intended for senior secondary school students.  How do I write a intro and conclusion for the prompt: Sometimes it is difficult to decide between right and wrong in conflict situations.

Expert Answers
pmiranda2857 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

You are given an assignemnt to write a magazine article for high school students who have to decide between right and wrong. I would start the article with a situation.  For example:

I was invited to the first party of the new school year, it was Friday, the weekend was finally here, the first week of school seemed like it went on forever.  Everyone wanted to kick back and relax, it seemed like half the school was at this party, everyone was drinking and partying.  I got into the fun and drank my share of beer.

Then, my friends took me over to a group of kids who were snorting cocaine, they were all having a great time laughing. My friend snorted a line of cocaine and offered me the same, I stood there, kind of drunk, but my mind raced to find a cool way to refuse without looking like I was scared.  It was awkward, I did not want to do drugs, but everyone was getting high, if everyone was doing it was it really that bad.  I could do it just this once....

This little story sounds corny, but I imagine, as a high school teacher, that this goes on in the minds of kids all the time.  Most kids don't want to self-destruct, but they also don't want to become social outcasts, so it is a dilemma.  To be a social outcast is one of the most painful experiences that a teenager can experience.

So I would suggest that you focus on peer pressure situations regarding the need for acceptance by a group of friends, who are so important to the happiness and social stability of a teenager.

I'm sure that you can imagine any scenario in this little story, you can substitute pot for the cocaine, most kids don't think pot is that bad, they really believe that it harms you less than cigarettes.  I have had many arguments, teaching Health, with kids in high school about the dangers of pot smoking and how addictive it is.  I have seen young lives destroyed and put on hold as kids battle addiction in facilities while their education is put on hold and their lives are dominated by treatment.

Just a suggestion, good luck with your article.

parkerlee eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Iin literature, conflict is divided into the categories man versus environment, man versus man, and man versus self. The context you present is especially the last one as it deals with an internal struggle more than anything else.  This may be when there is clearly a moral issue in contradiction with one's personal interests (such as accepting a great job with a tobacco company when you are against smoking and encouraging people to smoke). However, there is another one - a conflict of loyalties. This is when circumstances push you to choose between serving the needs of one person at the expense of another's. (For example, revealing to a child who needs a transplant that his/her father isn't a potential doner because he isn't the biological one, but there's somebody out there who is....)

Life is complicated by nature, and often the "right" and "wrong" choice of an issue is not so 'cut and dry.' That's when you have to take all things (and people concerned) into consideration and not just go by your head but also by your heart (and vice versa!)

You might introduce your essay with a hypothetical conflictual situation and then ask the rhetorical question "So what did (Sally) do? or  simply "What to do?" Then after exploring options, you could conclude with an open end question "So was (she) really right?" or state something like "Sometimes there are problems for which there is no perfect solution."

Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The additional post here is really quite comprehensive and very stellar.  I think that in terms of opening your writing, you might want to pursue a couple of options.  Outlining the types of conflict as the previous post did is a good way to begin the exploration.  Another way would be to outline a specific conflict that challenges the reader to choose between the right and wrong might be a way to open the writing and "pull" the reader into the piece.  An example of this would be to outline a situation where the reader is involved in choosing between two difficult options, where it is not easy to see "right" vs. "wrong."  It seems to me that your one columned writing sample is trying to bright to light how difficult it is to make choices when embroiled in conflict.  If this is the case, opening with an illustration of this difficulty, and putting it on the reader to make a decision would be a very insightful way of introducing the essay.  The conclusion could be revisiting this dilemma or even explaining how you would make your own decision in such the opening predicament.