Conflict Is Growth
Conflict is Growth
When one struggles, they are paying the price to receive beneficial growth in their lives. Conflict will always be around in daily life to challenge our beliefs and behaviors, so it is important to bring emotions and deep feelings out so that issues may have a chance of being resolved. The best thing anybody can do is to deal with it in a positive manner creating growth and maturity, but occasionally one will learn nothing and reject any improvement. Two stories this semester that dealt with this issue directly were Useless Beauty by Guy De Maupassant and Premium Harmony by Stephen King. These tales brought conflict to a great point creating tension but it was the way they were handled that makes both stories standout.
In Useless Beauty, the protagonist Madame de Mascaret had a strength that was fighting for deliverance. "This is what I have to say to you. I am afraid of nothing, whatever you may do to me. You may kill me if you like” (Maupassant 6). “I am a woman of the civilized world, monsieur--we all are--and we are no longer, and we refuse to be, mere females to restock the earth,”(Maupassant 16). Conflict was an ongoing issue within her marriage; beginning with her husband who was always jealous of her flawless beauty and constrained her from society by impregnating her repeatedly over a period of eleven years. Forced into marriage for money and not truly in a love relationship with Comte de Mascaret, Madame struck back with revenge “One of your children is not yours, and one only; that I swear to you before God, who hears me here. That was the only revenge that was possible for me in return for all your abominable masculine tyrannies, in return for the penal servitude of childbearing to which you have condemned me” (Maupassant 6). Leaving Comte to dwell on this thought and not know which child was not his, he finally came to express his true feelings towards Madame admitting his jealousy and the way her confession has troubled his relationship with the children. The resolution for the story is quite interesting, although Comte never found out which child wasn’t his, the two together were able to come to a medium and recognize how each other felt and begin a friendship throughout the hurt and pain that was finally based on truth and respect for the both of them. I admired the fact that something of this capacity could help someone understand the beauty of a woman and her place in society.
In Premium Harmony, Stephen King wrote about a marriage that is still realistic in today’s society. It captured a close look of a man name Ray, the protagonist, disconnected from a life it seems he never wanted to be in from the start. Ray and his wife Mary Burkett are extremely in conflict within their marriage and failing at it rapidly. They both argue and lie about many things that shouldn’t even be an issue and without any passion behind it. “It’s really all the same argument. It has circularity” (King 1). I believe conflict sets the whole mood for the story itself. After they found out that they couldn’t have kids Ray bought Mary a dog, and this is where is seems the disagreements arise. Ray compares their arguing to “a dog track” and that “When they argue, they’re like greyhounds chasing the mechanical rabbit” (King 1). Ray shows a jealousy towards Biznezz, the dog, and this could be for different reasons but I believe the main reason is that his relationship with Mary is deteriorating and increasing with the dog. The word “Love is used only when in reference to the dog and not even after Ray attends to Mary’s body does he speak the simple four letter word. The resolution for this story was not ordinary. To escape the negative impact of the marriage, I believe depression killed Mary and Ray saw this as a relief from the arguments with his wife. Stephen King mentions two distinct items in this short story, a pack of smokes “Premium Harmonies” and Mary’s “Little Debbie’s” they are pretty much opposites and this is comparable to their relationship. It’s not until the end, once the dog dies, that Ray’s numbness takes a turn and he shows any kind of emotion “You’re with her now, Biz,” he says again through his tears. His voice is clogged and thick” (King 9). “Poor old Mary, poor old Biz. Damn it all!” (King 10) This definitely leaves unbelievable and amusing emotions that make you wonder did Ray want to be unbothered all along?
Reading these two stories made me realize exactly what I don’t want my marriage to become. In any relationship, how you resolve conflict is what matters most. With today’s society, people question love and what they want in a mate. It is more complex and the earlier roles by women and men are no longer defined. The women’s movement has improved may factors, but we still must understand the consideration of each other and our families. This new evolution of marriage has made the basis only to fulfilling emotional and psychological needs other than aspects that love was built on. We truly must not forget the meaning behind love and matrimony.