What is the conflict of stuck in neutral?no

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mrsbundy eNotes educator| Certified Educator

There are many conflicts in Stuck in Neutral by Terry Truman, but the central conflicts revolve around Shawn's desire to stay alive and prove that his life has worth and his father's desire to do what is right for his son.  The moral conflicts in this novel are what make it so compelling and memorable.  In general, because Shawn in the narrator of the novel and also has CP, all of the conflict on his part is an inner conflict.  He cannot have any direct, verbal or physical, conflict with any other character in the book.  Additionally, the reader never knows exactly what is going on in Shawn's father's head since the novel is not written from his point of view.  At first, it seems to Shawn that his father wants the best for him, but Shawn gradually realizes that his father genuinely believes he is better off dead.  The conflict (and suspense) arises in this book when we, the readers, know that Shawn is a thinking and valuable person who fiercely wants to live, yet his father does not.  Shawn's father is unsure of whether Shawn has any mental capacity at all, and he worries that Shawn only has the capacity to feel pain.  Knowing that cerebral palsy can cause a painful death, and also knowing that other people in the world can be cruel, Shawn's father contemplates killing his son.  That is the center of the conflict.