what is the conflict in this book?conflict

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Conflict is defined as a struggle of opposing forces.  In literature, the conflict is the problem.  There is usually more than one conflict in a story.  We divide conflict into two types: internal conflict and external conflict.  Internal conflict is a character’s struggles within himself.  Any character can have an internal conflict  External conflict is a struggle with an outside force.

Jonas is the main character in The Giver.  The overarching conflict in the story is an external conflict between Jonas and the structure and rules of his community.  We call this a character vs. society external conflict.  After Jonas becomes Receiver of Memory, he begins to question the society’s rules and methods, for example killing the newborn twin.

Jonas also has many internal struggles throughout the book.  These character vs. self internal conflicts include his fears that he is different, and his struggle to make decisions such as to rescue baby Gabriel and flee the community.

The most common external conflict is a conflict between two characters.  The main character vs. character conflicts are fights, arguments or just disagreements.  Jonas begins to separate himself physically and emotionally from his friends and parents.  He has a conflict with Asher when he tells him not to play a war game, for example.

A struggle with a force of a technological or supernatural nature is known as character vs. supernatural.  This usually involves monsters or mythical beings, but Jonas’s special powers definitely fall into this category.  Jonas struggles to accept his new abilities because they cause him pain and make him different.

Finally, when Jonas and Gabriel run away they face many character vs. nature conflicts.  These include the hills they have to struggle up, and the snow and cold.  Hunger can even fall into this category, because the land wasn’t proving them with substance and was slowing them down.

As you can see, there usually is more than one conflict in a story, and good stories have many!


ingahughes | Student

It's been a while since I read this book.  it was a good read.  As I recall the boy in this story is morally conflicted.  He lives in a world that is unkind and uncaring.  he slowly becomes aware that he cannot behave like those around him expect him to behave. It's like an awakening.  he starts to see his world for what it is and this clearly upsets him.