Conflict in Literature

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Internal Conflict
External Conflict
Internal Conflict
Definition:
A struggle that takes place in a character's
mind is called internal conflict.
Internal Conflict is …
NOT visual or tangible.
a character dealing with his
or her own mixed feelings or
emotions.
Example of Internal Conflict
A character may have to decide between
right and wrong or between two solutions
to a problem.
Internal Conflict
Subcategory
Man vs. Self
Internal conflict is
often referred to as
man vs. self since the
struggle is inside
one’s head.
Man vs. Self Examples
Lester vs. his fear of dying
Michael Oher vs. his struggle to choose a
college.
External Conflict
Definition:
A struggle between a character and an
outside force is an external conflict.
Example of External Conflict
Characters may face several types of
outside forces.
The outside force may be another
character. It may be the character and the
community.
The outside force may also be forces of
nature. For example, a story might be the
main character struggling against the
arctic cold.
External Conflict
Subcategories
Man vs. Man
Man vs. Society
Man vs. Nature
Man vs. Man
This is mostly seen in the form of two
characters against each other.
It can also be represented by a group of
people.
It does not have to be a physical
confrontation; it can be a battle between
two ideas.
Man vs. Man Examples
Jimmy Valentine vs. Ben Price
Batman vs. The Joker
The Avengers vs. Loki
Man vs. Nature
Environment is defined as anything
surrounding a person.
This can include weather or fate.
Man vs. Nature Examples
Bear Grylls vs. Jungle
Kate Fitzgerald vs. Cancer (My Sister’s Keeper)
Man vs. Society
Man vs. Society –
The leading character struggles against ideas,
practices, or customs of other people.
Man vs. Society Examples
Skeeter vs. The expectations of the town.
Aibileen and Minny vs. Racism
Mulan vs. the stereotype of woman.
Conflict
Quick Review
•Internal Conflict
•External Conflict
•MAN VS. HIMSELF
•MAN VS. MAN
•MAN VS. NATURE
•*not tangible
•*other characters
•*a force of nature
* struggle of ideas
•*in the mind
•*not just physical
confrontation
•*anything in surroundings
* Customs
•*decisions, feelings, emotions
•*opposing ideas
•*weather, fate, health
* Stereotypes
Man VS. SOCIETY
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