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In popular literature, the use of conflict is an integral part of many stories; it can occur between the main character and the antagonist (which usually occurs), the main character and a side character, the main character and nature/the environment, and conflict between the main character and society. Conflict, along with other literary devices, can help form the theme of stories and give the plot meaning.
Just one of these examples about conflict lies in the short story “The Most Dangerous Game”, written by Richard Connell.
Three types of conflict are used to advance the plot; Man vs Nature, Man vs Man, and Man vs himself. In the story, conflict serves to advance the theme of the story, as well as giving it meaning for the reader to take away; it is the base of the story in which other literary elements are implemented in order to draw in the reader. Foreshadowing and irony are two of these literary elements commonly implemented with conflict in order to keep the reader interested and more likely to read the whole story.
For the first conflict (Man vs Nature), it is important to note the discussion that Rainsford and Whitney had before Rainsford’s contact with the sea. After losing his balance off the yacht, everyone else onboard it is asleep and therefore unable to hear Rainsford’s cries for help. In order for Rainsford to survive, he must swim to a nearby island, which ends up being the infamous “Ship-Trap Island”. Rainsford struggles immensely with this task, as the author notes; “He struggled up to the surface and tried to cry out, but the wash from the speeding yacht slapped him in the face and the salt water in his open mouth made him gag and strangle ¦ For a seemingly endless time he fought the sea.
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