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The significance of conflict Essay

In the Kite Runner, conflict is evident throughout; physical conflict of the war, Baba’s internal fight against cancer, Hassan’s constant battle with the society he lived in, Sohrab’s struggle to accept and trust Amir, but none more prominent than Amir’s conflict with his emotions and his own image of himself. The entirety of Hosseini’s novel is based around the self-conscious narrative of a guilty man who struggles to come to terms with the consequences of the, decisively wrong, decisions he made as a child, which seems to have caused a domino effect on his whole life, never truly able to make the right choice until the end of the novel when he finally chose to stand up and stand up for what is right instead of running and hiding- saving the last ounce of his brothers happiness, his son, Sohrab.

The very first line of the novel is suggestive of Amir’s inner turmoil, “I became what I am today at the age of twelve”, as it gives the impression that he doesn’t even think himself to deserve being thought of as human, but rather prefers to be looked at as some sort of creature, incapable of acting in a humane manner, through the authors choice for the narrator to use the word “what”, rather than “who”, in the hopes of making us dislike the narrator, as he does himself. This emotional havoc that he faces effects the resolution of the story, as the crushing remorse that he has carried with him since he was twelve years old, propelled him forward, so he could finally begin to unload some of it after having done a good deed, his actions pleading for forgiveness from all he has hurt, especially Hassan, his friend and brother.

Robert Browning’s ‘The Laboratory’ is a poem about the conflicted emotions of a woman who wishes to punish those who have hurt her, seeming to be very enthusiastic about the crime she was about to commit, though her confidence can be used to mask the way she was desperately trying to fight her conflicted emotions away. In my opinion, the female narrator in this poem is trying desperately to hide the fact that she is undoubtedly terrified of the reality of what she was doing, which is shown in the way Browning writes “He is with her, and they know that I know”- the simplistic, monosyllabic structure of this line suggests that the narrator feels that she must remind herself of the thing that her driven her to act in such a way, fuelling her anger so she was able to complete the task with no remorse.

As the poem begins in medias res, we aren’t entirely sure of the events that occurred that were able to drive her to such a point, in which she had contemplated taking another person’s life, but we do know that it was these occurrences that caused the confusing mix of feelings that swarmed her mind and affected the resolution of the poem. Her confusion seems to be a result of the narrators need for some sort of revenge, to soothe her pain, heartbreak and humiliation combined with sorrow, as she seems to believe the affair was entirely her partner’s mistress’s fault as she was said to have “ensnared him”, still loving her companion dearly. This anger pushed her forwards into doing something she wasn’t entirely comfortable in doing, her anxiousness being repeatedly shown throughout the poem in her curiosity, for example “is that poison too?”, yet she completes the task she set out to so as to punish those she felt necessary.

In The Patriot, one of the types of conflict experienced by the narrator would be an internal battle over whether he truly considered himself to be guilty of the crime they were punishing him for. It is suggested throughout the poem, that the narrator is a man who has fallen from grace, after having been considered a God-like figure that everybody respected and looked to for guidance, but failed to provide it, even though he tried his best. For example, a quote from the poem says “it was I who leaped at the sun to give it to my loving friends to keep”, giving the impression that he really did try to give the best to the people of the town as he cared for them all, considering them as his closest friends, and is trying to convince the reader that he is not guilty, pleading innocence, as the only crime he had committed was being human, and making a mistake.

His own opposition to this argument, however, is underlying all of his words, in the repetitive and never changing rhyme scheme, which is indicative of his resignation and acceptance of his fate, choosing unconsciously not to argue with what the people were doing to him, because he, in some ways, agrees with what they are doing as, though he doesn’t feel guilty of the things they say he did, he feels responsible for his actions causing so much trouble. This affects the resolution of the story as the narrator seemingly allows the people do whatever they please, choosing to surrender without a fight, glad to be gone in the end as he feels he would be safer with God- “God shall repay: I am safer so.”

In Browning’s ‘The Pied Piper of Hamelin’, there is a more overt physical conflict between two of the main characters of the poem; the mayor and the pied piper. The resolution of the poem was affected by a dispute over an issue of pride and money. The piper was a very proud man, who was well aware of his capabilities and wanted to ensure everyone who knew him, knew that he was their hero, believing he deserved some sort of recognition for his talents, in a rather arrogant manner as he is seen to boast to anyone who will listen about the challenges he had already faced, and those he planned to face, in his ‘career’- “having left, in the Caliph’s kitchen, Of a nest of scorpions no survivor”, choosing to name drop, to show how impressive he was thought to be.

The selfish nature of the mayor is portrayed in the way that he is said to have spent the taxes of the townspeople on “gowns lines with ermine” for himself and the rest of his “corporation”, when the town was writhing in rats that were wreaking havoc in everyone’s daily lives. This clash of personalities affected the resolution of the poem greatly as, had the mayor not been so completely concerned with his own wellbeing over that of the town he was supposed to be looking after, and paid what the pied piper was promised and deserving of (“A thousand guilders! Come take fifty”), the piper would not have been angered and humiliated, and so, would not have resulted in the capturing of the children of the town.


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