What is the central conflict in Bharati Mukherjee's short story "The Management of Grief"?

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In literature, there are usually five basic forms of conflict: man versus man; man versus nature; man versus society; man versus self; and man versus technology.

The central conflict in The Management of Grief would be man versus society; the protagonist, Shaila Bhave, finds herself pitted against two opposing societal ideals in grief management, Hindu and secular western. The resolution of the conflict is surprising, but uplifting.

First, we will discuss Shaila's Indian culture. India boasts many different ethnic groups, each with distinct customs regarding death and mourning. Among these ethnic groups, further religious and caste considerations bear critical influence in the area of grief management. Shaila, for example, is Hindu, and conceivably descends from Brahmin ancestry. We are told that Shaila's grandmother was a 'spoiled daughter of a rich zamindar...' Zamindars or Bhumihar Brahmins were wealthy, land-owning aristocrats. In her grandmother's time, widowed Brahmin women were...

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 1569 words.)

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