What is the central conflict in Beauty?
Robin McKinley's Beauty: A Retelling of the Story of Beauty and the Beast follows the struggles of young Honour "Beauty" Huston as she struggles to adjust to living in the enchanted castle of the Beast, far from her home and family.
After Beauty's father, Roderick Huston, takes a single rose from the Beast's garden while being given shelter from a storm in his castle, the Beast demands that Huston be punished for this act of theft. Beauty agrees to take her father's place as the Beast's prisoner, and so she comes to live with him and must face his nightly proposals of marriage. The central conflict is, thus, Beauty's lack of love for the Beast (who, unbeknownst to Beauty, can only break the curse on his family's lineage by finding true love). Ultimately, Beauty realizes that she does love the Beast after being temporarily released to go rescue her sister, Grace, from an unhappy marriage. She returns to the Beast just in time to break the enchantment and save him from death.
The central conflict in Beauty is twofold:
Beauty has to go live with the Beast in order to save her father, and confronts the fear that she will never see her family again and adapt to life with the Beast (which turns out to not be so terrible after all once she falls in love with him) and also
the Beast must confront his own demons and prove his love to Beauty in order to get her to stay. She begins the journey to the castle to save her father, but ultimately also saves the Beast.