The Face on the Milk Carton

by Caroline B. Cooney, Caroline Bruce

Start Free Trial

What are three major conflicts in The Face on the Milk Carton?

Expert Answers

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

Hmm.  How about the conflict of Janie's adoptive parents.  I'm sure their struggle of whether or not to let Janie go back to her birth parents is a super difficult decision.  

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

I would say that one major conflict is Janie's internal struggle of what to do when she realizes that she was kidnapped from her original birth parents.  She sees her own face on the back of a milk carton, and that's how she figures it out.  Her struggle is then what to do about it.  On one hand, she wants to find her biological parents. On the other hand, she has her adoptive parents who love her very much and are the only family that she knows. 

A second conflict begins after Janie sees her birth family.  She writes a letter to them, but doesn't mail it.  Janie is struggling with whether to ignore the evidence or tell her adoptive parents.  Should she contact her birth family or not?  

A third conflict is between Janie and her boyfriend Reeve.  It's not a major conflict and doesn't involve them fighting, but the decision of whether or not to begin having sexual relations is a small conflict in the book.  

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

What are three major conflicts Janie faces in The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney?

The first major conflict in The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline B. Cooney is the one that occurs when Janie sees the picture on the milk carton and recognizes that the kidnapped girl in the picture is actually herself at the age of three, wearing a dress she can remember. This causes an internal conflict about her identity.

Her next conflict is with her adopted parents Frank and Miranda. She wants to find out more about her birth parents and the circumstances of her kidnapping but they want to protect her and themselves from possible legal complications and also from the cult.

Her final set of major conflicts has to do with her love interest, Reeve. There are parental obstacles to their relationship, his desire to go further with her sexually than she is comfortable with, and their temporary breakup due to his discomfort with her not telling the truth to her family.

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
Last Updated by eNotes Editorial on