Hearing the word “conflict” does not always arouse the most positive feelings. It brings uneasiness, and, in some cases fear. But, in literature, conflict is a necessary ingredient to a well formed story. The tension and uncertainty of conflict engulfs the reader making them more interested in the outcome. In Alice Munro’s “An Ounce of Cure,” the teenager struggles in her adolescent life to find her identity, in “The Story of an Hour,” Louise wrestles with her own emotions, and finally in “The Chaser,” Alan is conflicted with his desires for love. Each story mentioned contains unique forms of conflict.
In “An Ounce of Cure”, the teenager experiences a type of internal conflict characterized as Man vs. Self. Alice Munro begins the story by describing the teenage girl as naïve and in love with a boy named Martin Collingwood. The relationship does not last when Martin breaks her heart. The conflict inside the teenager begins. She is torn with bitterness and “self-inflicted misery” (Munro 154). These feelings she is battling with inside bring her to a very low point. At the peak of internal conflict, she actually considers taking her own life with a bottle of aspirin. She begins to take one pill at a time, but stops with the sixth one. But, perhaps an even greater conflict in the story is Man vs. Society. The teenager grows up in conservative town which defines her reputation for her. When she babysits for the Berrymans, she stumbles upon a bottle of liquor. Upon her “disastrous innocence”, the teenager becomes drunk. Although, by the end of the story, the young girl is mature and filled with a greater perspective on life.
The second example of conflict comes from “The Story of an Hour” by Kate Chopin. In the story, Louise Mallard is informed by her sister of her husband’s unexpected death in a train accident. Her sister knows she must break the news gently, because Louise’s heart condition may cause her problems. This is the first conflict in...
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