What is the main plot, conflict and resolution of Hemingway's To Have and Have Not?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The plot of a novel is the introduction of the characters and the inciting action that leads to the major conflict, which culminates through rising action in the climax during which the direction of the resolution is determined and brought about by the falling action. So the plot of To Have and Have Not is that a strangely moral sea captain who doesn't flinch at murdering unscrupulous people but won't smuggle illegal laborers meets with a string of calamities that lead him to a strangely ironic compromise in which he rewrites his moral values.

The conflict embedded within the plot--they are not separate things--is that the sea captain has to decide how to comes out on top of the troubles that come his way and, worse yet, how to live with the consequences of some of the horrible troubles that come out on top instead of him. The resolution of the conflict, also embedded within the plot and not separate from it, is that he breaks down and violates the moral code he had--based it seems on a philosophy of not using innocent people for bad purposes--and undertakes action and work contracts that effectively rewrite his moral code to include what he use to exclude.

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To Have and Have Not

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