Conflict is a word used to describe a state of discomfort, anger, frustration, sadness or pain that arises from a struggle to resist or overcome a condition of opposition, antagonism or discord. Fear is an unpleasant and frequently strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger. Fear affects the way that people manage antagonistic circumstances, and can often provoke uncharacteristic or defensive responses. In order to understand conflict, we must first accept the inevitability of conflict in everyday life, understand that conflict appears in a variety of forms and guises and how conflict is a set of dynamics and is rarely one-dimensional, stemming from manifold human fears. The Size of the Sky, by Jenny Pausacker is a narrative that engages an excessive diversity of conflict, yet not one of these is physical. This essay will discuss why fear is often the prime instigator of conflict, in particular the fear of losing one’s identity, fear for personal safety that creates conflict and fear from false perceptions.
One of the most common fears that surfaces as a cause of conflict is the fear of losing one’s identity or security in themselves and what is familiar. Different individuals and groups identify themselves in certain ways, such as culture, religion, nationality, language, race or sexuality. When people’s identities are threatened to change, this can provoke fears in extinction, fears for the future, fears of oppression and more. In The Size of the Sky, Marco is afraid that the arrival of Liam will disrupt his ‘normal’ routine, and fears the changes that he might bring to his life. The most famous Islamic extremist, Osama Bin Laden, was afraid of the influence of the West and that the heathen ideas of the Western culture would threaten their religion and the proper way of life according to the Koran, while Atheists are afraid that religion will limit free expression and individual rights. When the Church was in power, they often induced fear...
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