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All Conflict in Literature Is, in Its Simplest Form, a Struggle Between Good and Evil Essay

“All conflict in literature is, in its simplest form, a struggle between good and evil. ” This statement means that all the themes and struggles in literature, when broken down to their most simplest forms, are a conflict between good and evil. Usually in conflicts, there are two sides that fight over one thing. One side is considered good, while the other side is considered bad. The people that are good do it for the right thing while the people that are bad do it for the wrong reasons. This is considered to be in every conflict when carefully analyzed.

This statement is not valid because a conflict does not have to be about good and evil. A conflict can be internal, where a struggle takes place in the character’s mind. Something can happen to a character that emotional scars him or her, or cause mental instability. Also, there can be a conflict between two sides but it does not mean either one is good or evil. For example, two sides are fighting each other to gain territory from the other. Neither is good or bad because they fight for the same reason, defeating the other to take what they have.

One example of a book that proves this is The Catcher in the Rye, by J. D. Salinger. In this book, the main character Holden Caulfield is faced with several conflicts. Some of these conflicts include conflicts with himself and conflicts with society. Holden has a hard time dealing with everyday life and secludes himself from the outside world. He believes everyone around him is phony but in actuality, Holden is the biggest phony. Most of this is caused from the death of his brother which made him mentally instable.

The conflict in this story is not about good and evil, but the fact that the main character is unable to deal with others because of the way he views things. Another book that proves this is The Iliad, by Homer. There is no good or bad in this story, because each of the characters are caught in their own conflicts. On the Greek side, Menelaus wants to defeat the Trojans and take Helen back while Agamemnon wants to take over Trojan territory. On the Trojan side, Hector wants to get rid of the Greeks while Paris wants to keep Helen. Achilles does not want to get involved in the war but he fights for the Greeks to avenge his cousin’s death.

These chain of conflicts all start from Helen leaving the Trojans for Paris, which leads to the war between the Greeks and Trojans. Although most conflicts are between good and evil, they do not have to be. The first example used shows that conflicts can be internal, where a problem occurs in the character’s mind through which the character reaches a new understanding of things. The second example shows that conflicts do not have to have a good or evil in them, conflict is caused because of personal reasons. The statement given may seem true but after analyzing several books, it can be proved to be false.


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