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To Kill a Mockingbird

by Harper Lee

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In "To Kill a Mockingbird", how does conflict arise and to what extent is it resolved?

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If you are needed to compare the conflict in another story with that of TKAM, remember that most stories rely on one of four types of conflict: man vs. man, man vs. nature, man vs. society, or man vs. self. Think back to most of what you've read throughout the school year, and you'll be able to place each story in one (or more) of those categories.

TKAM, by the way, includes great examples of at least three of those four conflicts. Man vs. nature is present, but minimal at best. Jamie's previous answer gave you some great examples of where the other types of conflicts can be found.

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In Harper Lee's "To Kill a Mockingbird," there are a number of internal and external conflicts that have direct causes.

For example, one of the first conflicts is between the Finch children, Jem and Scout, their friend Dill, and the mysterious Boo Radley. This conflict is both external and internal; internal as the children fear him, external in that they "challenge" Boo by daring one another to invade his property.

The fear does not have a justifiable reason; they fear Boo because he is different, never coming out in the light of day. He is the "other." Later the children discover his true nature, which is kind and gentle. They create the conflict for themselves, but it need not have ever existed. In this case, th conflict is resolved. Prejudice created the conflict, but the children learn that the conflict was without merit.

Unfortunately, not all of the conflicts are favorably resolved. Maybella and her kin create unbelievable conflict when she accuses Tom Robinson of rape. Tom pays for the conflict she helped to create with his life... certainly not a beneficial resolution.

Atticus must enter the fray of the conflict as he represents Tom as his lawyer. The children and the town see the conflict of prejudice play out before their eyes. Again, the conflict is over after Tom's death, but hardly resolved. Justice did not win out in the end.

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