illustration of a car crash, a grave, empty liquor bottles, a basketball, and a young man crying

Tears of a Tiger

by Sharon M. Draper

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What are the external and internal conflicts in "Tears of a Tiger"?

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The external conflict is that Andrew has killed his best friend, Rob Washington, in a car accident because he was drunk. Their lives have been tied together since seventh grade. He now has to deal with Rob's parents, his parents, the oher students, his friends, and his teachers when he returns.  They all know what he has done. Rob's parents are devastated, but they try to forgive him.  His parents want him to move on and get past it and don't want to discuss it with him. The other students are angry because Rob was a really popular person, being the basketball star of the school, and they miss him.  Some of his teachers want him to move passed it and throw himself into his studies, others want him to talk about it.  Every day he has to go to school and face these people. His best friends and his girlfriend,Keisha, are trying to understand, but he isn't making it easy because of all the internal conflict going on in his mind.

His internal conflict is guilt.  It manifests itself even in his dreams.  He dreams that Robbie says to join him in death.  He wishes that he were dead instead of Rob.  He cannot forgive himself for what he has done.  He wonders if Rob feels the cold lying in his grave as he and Keisha talk on a cold, snowy day. Andy is consumed with thoughts of Rob, and the psychiatrist never quite resolves the issue, which eventually leads to Andy's death.  He just can't take the torment anymore.

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