Every story or novel is created by some sort of conflict/rivalry of a character with things such as other characters, himself or herself, nature, machines, etc. These conflicts are what create the stories we read and hear regulary and without a conflict, there's essentially no story. Such conflict goes a long way to affect how someone perceives a story and their ensuing reaction to it. Factors such as personality, values, past experiences, and so forth, can potentially sway a person to a particular side of a conflict. The nature of the conflict within a story as well as within their lives can shape how one perceives who's story gets told.

Ever since the introduction of story telling to the world, plots have been fueled by conflict. It provides the author with a way to "spice up" the story to make it more interesting for the reader. However, the thing that determines response from readers is the nature of the conflict. This can be anything from what type of conflict, (Man vs. Man, Man vs. Self, etc.), to the sheer topic of the conflict and whether or not it is something that keeps one interested throughout the entire story (Choate). These aspects of conflict spur different reactions from a variety of people. This is largely due to a psychological factor that works subconsciously in everyones mind. There is such a large variety of aspects that determine how one perceives conflict, it is hard to pinpoint th true source of what causes one to react in a specific way. Generally, as the negativity of ones emotion regarding a specific conflict increases, the more they tend be involved and argue mental about it (Barki, and Hartwick). We have found this negativity comes from any intra-personal emotion or memory that causes their perspective on a topic to be altered. The mind map below addresses a multitude of ways any person may respond to conflict.
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The concept of conflict is one that can only be explained deep within the realms of psychology, but is perhaps the most dynamic factor in effecting who's story gets told.

In the novel Things Fall Apart, the context of the conflict that exists determines the future of an entire culture. There is a large amount of conflict within Things Fall Apart, yet it is not all related. The difference between the types of conflict throughout the novel get different reactions from the characters. The first few secions of the novel conatin little apparent conflict. However, the small amount that does exist takes place within the ibo tribe and is so customary to the characters within it, it almost seems normal to the reader, even though our values are much different than theirs. An example of this is seen when Okonkwo threatens to shoot his wife Ekwefi. "He pressed the trigger and there was a loud report accompanied by the wail of his wives and children" (Achebe, 24). At first glance, this event should be frowned upon by anyone, yet there is little reaction to this incident because violence towards family members is not unheard of to them like it is to us. It is not until later in the novel that the conflict changes to something beyond anything the villagers of Umofia have ever seen. White missionaries arrive in the village and begin to attempt to convert the tribesman to Christianity. "Three converts had gone into the village and boasted openly that all the gods were dead and impotents and that they were prepared to defy them by burning all their shrines." (Achebe, 94) The fact that the characters and at times the narrator have little knowledge of the white men that inevitably destroy their culture makes the conflict immensly more dramatic and destructive. Ultimately, this intense conflict brought near the end of the novel is the deciding factor in manipulating who's story gets told. As a result of the conflict, many villagers cave in and convert to Christianity, losing passion in their own culture and driving Okonkwo to his grisly fate. In the very end of the novel, it is made clear that the person who will end up telling the story of this tribe are the intruders who engaged in conflict, and won.

This concept of how one reacts to conflict affecting the outcome is seen in countless forms of literature and media.




The story of Harry Potter is mostly characterized by conflicts with him vs. other characters, especially his "arch nemesis" Lord Voldemort. As seen in this preview, the conflict between Harry and Lord Voldemort has reached an apex, and only the outcome will decide the fate of the world of magic. While the character vs. character conflict is used in every Harry Potter book to date is the basis of whether or not Harry Potter will surmount his obstacle or if the forces of evil will prevail and take over, it is not the only form of conflict being utilized today. The following film shows a completely different form of conflict.





APRICOT — A Short Film by Ben Briand from Moonwalk Films on Vimeo.


In the short story "Apricot," most of the conflict revolves primarily around the man's conflict against himself to find out who he was and is, as well as the woman who seems to be the love of his life. Even as a child the man appeared to be in contention with himself, always separate from the world and the others around him. What's interesting about the man's childhood though is that, as the woman mentions, he was always taking photos or documenting the world around him as if he were to lose the memory of everything sometime in the future. Could it be perhaps that he knew what was going to happen to him thus causing the battle between him and his own memory? Overall, the man in this film is attempting to recover memory of something he has no recollection of. This conflict within him continues as he he struggles to remember himself.

Conflict within literature is the deciding factor in deciding who's story gets told. This is a result of a combination of the various aspects that make conflict conflict and how people respond to this stimulus. The psychological roots of response to conflict are planted from many sources. These can include emotion, values, and even experiences. Within literature and media, these sources cause characters as well as readers/viewers to perceive conflict in ways that spark emotion and ultimately determine outcomes of situations.

Works Cited:

Achebe, Chinua. Things Fall Apart. Columbus, OH: Glencoe/McGraw-Hill, 1959. Print.

"Apricot- A Short Film by Ben Briand." Vimeo. Web. 9 Dec 2010. <http://www.vimeo.com/8076064>.

Barki, Henri, and Jon Hartwick. "Conceptualizing the Construct of Interpersonal Conflict." International Journal of Conflict Management 15.3 (2004): 216-244. Web. 10 Dec 2010.

Choate, Jane McBride. "Conflict: The secret to great children's fiction." Writer 119.4 (2006): 26-27. Web. 10 Dec 2010.

"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Trailer Official HD." Youtube. Web. 9 Dec 2010.<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_EC2tmFVNNE>