An internal conflict is a conflict that occurs within a character. The character may struggle to make a decision, to choose between right or wrong, or to recover from some sort of tragedy. In Roald Dahl's The BFG , the BFG himself struggles with a very difficult internal...
An internal conflict is a conflict that occurs within a character. The character may struggle to make a decision, to choose between right or wrong, or to recover from some sort of tragedy. In Roald Dahl's The BFG, the BFG himself struggles with a very difficult internal conflict. The BFG has lived for a very long time with a community of giants who do terrible things. He has always wished that he could stop them, but has never believed that he has the strength to stand up to them. He says to Sophie, "For years and years I is sitting here on this very rock every night after night when they is galloping away, and I is feeling so sad for all the human beans they is going to gobble up. But I has had to get used to it. There is nothing I can do." However, when Sophie insists that "we can't just sit here and do nothing! We've got to go after those brutes!", the BFG finally convinces himself to try to stop them.
Another character that experiences internal conflict in this novel is the Queen of England. Sophie and the BFG decide that in order to stop the giants from eating up children, they will need to go to the Queen for help. The BFG makes her see what has been happening in a dream, and Sophie is waiting on her windowsill when she wakes up to prove to her that it is true. At first, the Queen cannot decide whether to believe what she is hearing, thinking "Keep very calm. Because this is surely not very far from the place where madness begins." As she listens to Sophie and the BFG's words, however, she makes up her mind to help them, and finally takes charge.
There are also examples of external conflict in this novel. External conflict occurs between a character and an outside force. The most common form of external conflict happens between two characters, but it can also be between a character and nature, society, fate, technology, or even the supernatural. One example of external conflict occurs between The Queen of England and the Head of the Military. She demands immediate action be taken on the giants, but the Head of the Military argues that it is impossible. In the end, however, the Queen wins that conflict - because she is the queen, after all.
What can sometimes get confusing, however, is when an internal conflict and an external conflict overlap. For example, in The BFG, he BFG has an external conflict with the other giants. He wants them to stop kidnapping and eating children, while they are completely content to continue doing so. This external conflict causes the internal conflict for the BFG discussed earlier. I mention this just so that you don't worry if sometimes your internal and external conflicts focus on the same events. It happens in real life too; when you get in a fight with your sister, that's an external conflict. But you worrying about that fight and whether you should apologize--that's internal conflict.