If conflict is not a matter of you getting what you deserve, how are some people innocent victims of conflict?

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Probably the most obvious example of people not deserving what they experience as a result of conflict is visible by looking at the impact of any war upon the civilians living in the area where the actual fighting takes place. Children who are completely innocent and uninvolved in any way with whatever is causing the fight may be injured, killed, orphaned, deprived of food and shelter and education - none of which they deserve. Others who could be affected by such a situation could include the elderly, the handicapped, and citizens who simply aren't among the fighters.

Another example could be to look at children of divorce. The children are generally not the reason for such an action, but they are the ones who have to adjust to living with only one parent at a time, possibly in reduced financial circumstances, with radical changes in family dynamics and responsibilities and opportunities resulting through no fault of their own.

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Since you posted this question in Literature, I am sure that you are examining conflict in a text. (Outside of that, this would also be a great Discussion post or fit into Social Sciences.) This conflict, per your question, is not always the fault of the protagonist. Right? Therefore, what I am assuming you are asking is about some examples where the protagonist faces conflict that they did not force to happen.

There is truth in the statement made in your question: some people are innocent victims of conflict.

Therefore, there are many examples (in literature) where the protagonist, or any character for that fact, faces conflict which they do not deserve.

For example, the protagonist Melinda, in Laurie Halse Anderson's novel Speak, does not deserve the conflict she faces in the novel. Melinda is bullied and alienated by both her closest friends and complete strangers. Melinda was raped at a party and called the police. The party was broken up and everyone comes to find out that it was Melinda who placed the call. Melinda did not deserve to face the conflicts she faced.

To determine if a character deserves the conflict they face in their life, a reader must examine the character's actions. Did they do something which deserved conflict to be a part of their life? If not, then the character could be deemed innocent and would not deserve the conflict which they are forced to face.

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