What are the conflicts in On the Devil's Court by Carl Deuker?  

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

As is true of most any novel, On the Devil's Court, by Carl Deuker, has a number of conflicts that help move the story and provide depth to the narrative. One such conflict occurs early on when Joe's father takes a new job at the University of Washington, forcing Joe to leave his friends behind and to acclimate himself to a completely new high school for his senior year. This here presents the first of many conflicts between Joe and his father, like when Joe wants to attend a local, public school and Joe's father insists that he attend a private school. Throughout the novel we find Joe in constant conflict with his father, whom he blames for their move and for Joe having to attend this new, unfamiliar school.

Other key conflicts are rooted in Joe's decision to offer his soul to the devil in exchange for a perfect basketball season. Herein lies the main crux of the novel--is it wise to make such a bargain? What are the consequences of such a choice? What happens afterward? Will Joe lose his soul? Does a single perfect season really equal the value of Joe's soul?

Additional tension and conflict arise as Joe's team makes it to the championship and Joe struggles with his choice--did he really trade his soul? Was his pact real? Or was it all just his imagination?

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The novel is filled with conflicts, as any compelling work must be. The premise of the novel is that the main character, Carl, sells his soul to the devil for basketball success. Of course, this is the main conflict in the novel. However, Carl also has other problems, namely his relationship with his father and problems at school.

Carl is desperate for basketball success, partially due to his high-pressure father. He practices quite hard, and even practices alone. However, the internal conflict caused by the juxtaposition between his ambitions and reality eventually lead him to sell his soul to the devil, which he regrets at times. Part of the reason for him selling his soul to the devil is his desire to move to a different school and make the basketball team, which he believes will help him fit in.

Posted on

We’ll help your grades soar

Start your 48-hour free trial and unlock all the summaries, Q&A, and analyses you need to get better grades now.

  • 30,000+ book summaries
  • 20% study tools discount
  • Ad-free content
  • PDF downloads
  • 300,000+ answers
  • 5-star customer support
Start your 48-Hour Free Trial