What is the conflict in Siobhan Dowd's The London Eye Mystery?

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Tamara K. H. eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are two central conflicts in Siobhan Dowd's The London Eye Mystery. The first is a character vs. character conflict that puts Salim in a situation in which he goes missing; the second is a character vs. environment conflict that entraps Salim.

In the story, Salim is in conflict with his mother for a couple different reasons. First, she has accepted a job in New York City and insists on uprooting Salim from his school to move. Salim doesn't want to leave his school because he has just become close friends with Marcus, is doing well in his drama class, and has managed to make himself and Marcus what they call "top moshers," meaning "casual, cool," popular kids (39). Another important reason why he doesn't want to leave for New York with his mother is because he sees her as being a bit on the wild side. In fact, the Spark family considers her to be like a hurricane and even calls her "Hurricane Gloria" (5). For these reasons, Salim would prefer to stay in Manchester with his father, but his father declines.

After pulling off his escape con adventure with Marcus, Salim changes his mind about running away to remain in Manchester. He decides he wants to stay on good terms with his mother and can't stand the thought of his cousins, Ted and Kat, getting into trouble for his having gone missing on their watch. So, he decides to return to the Sparks' home. It is on his way back to the Sparks' home that Salim encounters his character vs. environment conflict that keeps him locked away for three days.

As Ted figures out by chapter 38, on his way back to the Sparks' home, Salim would have passed the Barracks. Since he loves tall buildings and wants to be an architect, plus was willing to stall before receiving a scolding from his mother, Salim would not have been able to resist going into the abandoned building. Mr. Spark was responsible for locking up the building that night, and the building is set to be demolished within a few days. Mr. Spark unknowingly locks Salim in the building, leaving Salim to battle with his environment for three days until Ted figures out what happened to him and he is saved.