W. P. Kinsella

Start Free Trial

What is the main conflict in the short story "Truth"?

The main conflict in W. P. Kinsella's short story "Truth" centers around a hilarious hockey game between the Hobbema Wagonburners and the St. Edouard Bashers. After a series of humorous events and accidents, the Wagonburners win the game, and the Bashers start an angry riot. The narrator writes his account to make sure everyone knows the truth about the riot so the Indian Wagonburners don't take the blame.

Expert Answers

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

In his short story “Truth,” W. P. Kinsella sets up a humorous conflict between two hockey teams. One, the Hobbema Wagonburners, is incompetent at best (and actually pretty horrible!). They form only with an eye to winning the tournament's prize money, and most of their players haven't been on skates for years and seem much more interested in having a drink at the nearest bar than playing hockey. The other team, the St. Edouard Bashers, is made up of huge, aggressive, hockey-crazed players who are out to squash the Wagonburners.

And they very nearly do. The Wagonburners' goalie is carried out early in the game, having been ground into the ice by one of the Bashers. Manager Frank is at a loss. No one else will agree to play goalie. He looks around and notices Mad Etta, the medicine lady and team doctor. She's huge, tipping the scales at 400 pounds, and she makes the perfect goalie because she blocks the entire goal. The Bashers can't get a single shot past her. The puck just bounces off some part of Etta!

Etta, however, gets rather tired of this because that puck hurts when it hits her. She dusts the ice with some green, sandy stuff, and goes to sit in the face-off circle. The Bashers think they have the game won for sure now, but for some reason, they can't score a goal. The puck slides up, changes direction, and zips away every single time! In the meantime, the Wagonburners actually manage to score one goal (by accident), and when the end of the game arrives, the Wagonburners have won!

Of course, the Bashers and their fans are furious, and a riot breaks out. Here's where another conflict appears. At the very beginning of the story, the narrator talks about the riot and worries that the Indian Wagonburners will get the blame rather than the white Bashers. That's why he tells his story, to make sure that everyone knows the truth about what really happened at that hockey game!

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team