In literature conflict is either internal (caused within the character), or external. Out of the external conflicts there are four distinct types that serve as catalysts which help the plot move forward in the story. Conflicts are obstacles that the main character must endure in order to achieve a final goal and meet a purpose in the story. Hence, the character will be in conflict:
- versus another character (character vs. man)
- versus nature (for example, the story "To Build a Fire")
- versus society (as a whole)
- versus the cosmos (God, circumstances, fate, the inevitable)
When the conflict is internal, then the character's main conflict is caused by his or her own tragic flaws.
The short stories "The Test", by Theodore Thomas and "The Storyteller", by Saki treat two different conflicts that occur to different young men. The shared commonality, however, is that the male main characters enter involuntarily into very uncomfortable situations. As...
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