In the novel Unwind by Neal Shusterman, it is society's struggle against itself which leads to the Heartland War, a civil war between pro-life and pro-choice activists. To end the war, a disastrous policy is created that leads to the "unwinding," or killing, of children. In theory, the children live on because their body parts live on, but in reality, the children are killed. It is inside this conflict that the novel is set.
While a man vs. man conflict created the backdrop of the novel, the overarching conflict of the story is man vs. self. This is evident in the individual development of every major character, but it is most significantly shown through Lev’s character. Lev’s parents tithe him, and Lev willingly travels to the Harvest Center to be unwound.
Through his interactions with other children at the Harvest Center, Lev begins to question what he has always believed. Lev’s struggle is internal; he must overcome his conviction that he is destined to be unwound. This is not only a man vs. self conflict for Lev, but also a man vs. society conflict. Society teaches Lev that it is just for adults to choose to unwind their children. Lev believes that lie, and he struggles to accept the truth that his parents and pastor are wrong. It is Lev’s evolution from a believer to a doubter that enables society to change by the end of the novel.