What was one of the main problems in Call It Courage?

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When you ask about “problems” in Call It Courage , I assume that you are asking about the conflicts within the story.  Every story is built on some sort of conflict that must be resolved.  We typically say that a story can be built on conflict between “man and man,”...

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When you ask about “problems” in Call It Courage, I assume that you are asking about the conflicts within the story.  Every story is built on some sort of conflict that must be resolved.  We typically say that a story can be built on conflict between “man and man,” between “man and nature,” and between “man and self.”  All three of these kinds of conflict are present in Call It Courage, but the main conflict in the story is between “man” (Mafatu) and self.  The main conflict is the one in which Mafatu tries to overcome his own fear.

There are clearly other kinds of conflict in this book.  Mafatu comes into conflict with nature in the shape of, for example, the shark.  He comes into conflict with other people, particularly the eaters of men.  But neither of these conflicts is the main problem in the book.  The main problem in the book is that Mafatu is afraid.

We see this conflict set up at the beginning of the book.  We are told that Mafatu has been afraid of the ocean ever since he and his mother were swept away, leading to him mother’s death.  Because Mafatu is afraid, the other people in his community cannot respect him and his father cannot be proud of him.  Mafatu hates the fact that he is called “The Boy Who Was Afraid.”  This is the main conflict of the story.  Mafatu needs to stop being afraid of the ocean so that he can become a regular member of his society.  The whole story revolves around Mafatu’s efforts (which ultimately succeed) to rid himself of his fear.

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