What is the conflict in the story "The Ambitious Guest"?

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pmiranda2857 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Conflict: Security vs. Unknown

Conflict: Complacency vs. Ambition

Conflict: Fate vs. Choice 

The cottage itself poses a conflict, it represents security vs. the unknown. The family is never quite sure whether their house will remain secure in its position.  It sits at the base of a mountain where rocks and stones tumble towards it constantly.   

The family lives a complacent, quiet, life in the cottage as compared to the stranger, the guest, who seeks adventure and challenge.  The guest's attitude regarding how one should live life, and the attitudes of the family members are opposite from each other. 

The ultimate conflict is whether we control our fate or destiny, or is there really an element of choice involved in when death occurs.  When the family must decide whether they should remain in the small house once the storm begins to intensify and they hear sounds of the mountain collapsing, are they choosing their own destiny or was it fate. 

Influenced by the talk of the ambitious guest, the family chooses to flee the cottage and end up getting hit by the crumbling mountain, while the cottage remains untouched by the disaster.


beccag11 | Student

The conflict in this story is man vs self because the family live happily until the guest comes and makes them doubt themselves. They start thinking about what could make their lives better and what they want. Like at the end when they hear the rock slide or avalanche and they run out of the house. They second guessed themselves and ran out into danger.