Conflicts – Short Story Essay

December 30, 2017 General Studies

Conflict means a struggle or problem between two opposing groups or individuals. There are two types of conflict: internal and external conflict. An internal conflict is a struggle that is internalized and deals with choices, consequences, or emotions. An internal conflict is a man vs. self struggle. An external conflict is a struggle between the protagonist and another character against nature or some outside force. External conflicts are either man verses man, man verses nature, or man verses society.

Various examples of internal and external conflicts can be shown in Guy de Maupassant’s “The Necklace,” Richard Connell’s “The Most Dangerous Game,” and O. Henry’s, “The Gift of the Magi. ” Firstly, Guy de Maupassant’s “The Necklace” shows internal and external conflicts. An example of an internal conflict is when Mathilde, or Mme. Loisel, the protagonist, does not have a dress to wear to the ball that her husband was invited to through a few struggles. When her kind husband asks her why she was upset, she says, “‘Oh, nothing. Only I don’t have an evening dress and therefore I can’t go to that affair’” (Maupassant 29).

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For this reason, her husband buys her a dress worth four hundred francs to keep her happy. An example that shows an external conflict is when Mme. Loisel loses the necklace she borrows from her friend Mme. Forestier. “‘I…I…I don’t have Mme. Forestier’s necklace. ’” says Mme. Loisel with horror when they got home from the ball (32). To resolve this conflict, the Loisel couple bought another diamond necklace to replace the old one. It took them many years to pay off the debts. Then, one fine day Mme. Loisel bumps into Mme. Forestier, and comes to acknowledge that the necklace was fake.

So, if Mathilde had told the truth right from the beginning, she would have never had to buy a diamond necklace and work so hard all these years. Moving on, another story that shows conflict is Richard Connell’s “The Most Dangerous Game. ” A very good example of an external, man verses nature conflict is when one of the main characters, Rainsford, falls overboard off a yacht on a scary and dark night. He is put into a situation where he has to swim until he finds shelter. He swims, and “for a seemingly endless time he fought the sea” (Connell 42). After a while, he found an island called Ship Trap Island.

So, this shows how he fought against nature. Another example of conflict in this story is when Rainsford has to fight against General Zaroff, who is an expert at hunting humans on Ship Trap Island. As Rainsford gets challenged by Zaroff, he says, “‘Thank you, I’m a hunter, not a murderer’” (49). This shows an example of another external conflict. But, this one is a man verses man conflict because Rainsford is facing a problem with another character in the story. Therefore, Rainsford faces many situations where he has to choose between life or death.

Lastly, examples of conflict can be shown in “The Gift of the Magi” by O. Henry. This story is about a cute couple that is willing to do anything to buy each other Christmas presents. An internal conflict faced by Della Young, the protagonist, is when she does not have enough money to buy her husband Jim a present. All Della had was “one dollar and eighty seven cents. And the next day would be Christmas” (O. Henry 153). To get more money, Della sells her most prized possession, which is her hair. After Della and Jim finally bought their presents by selling their most prized possessions, another conflict arose.

Della bought Jim a chain for his watch, and Jim bought Della hair combs that she really liked. But, unluckily, turns out that Jim sold his watch to get the combs, and Della got her hair cut and sold it for the chain she bought Jim. To solve this problem, Jim said calmly, “‘Dell, let’s put out Christmas presents away and keep ‘em a while…I sold the watch to get the money to buy your combs’” (157). This was an external conflict because this lovely couple spent a big amount of money to buy each other very special gifts, and it all turned out to be useless.

In conclusion, conflict can be shown in many different stories. Mme. Loisel’s selfish and careless behavior leads her to problems in “The Necklace” by Guy de Maupassant. Poor Rainsford in “The Most Dangerous Game” by Richard Connell gets stuck into two very difficult situations. And, the way a very lovely and cute couple expressed their love for each other, turned out to be useless. All these conflicts show the different types of conflicts in literature. They also show how one conflict can lead to many others. Therefore, actions should always be chosen carefully in order to avoid conflicts.


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