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BookChums Theme: On Conflict

Post by: Manasi Kulkarni

 

Conflict, an inherent component of all life, is no wonder to be found generously in literature since time immemorial. No book you read, no theater, no film is complete without it. In fact, according to Aristotle, for any story to hold interest the hero must have a single conflict. It is unclear if he means only one conflict, or at least one conflict. What is clear is that he values the role of conflict in a good story. Many critics are of the opinion that the easier the conflict, the lesser the value of the story to the reader/viewer. As any reader would agree, when a protagonist has to undergo severe conflict the tensions it builds, the drama it creates and the thrill it generates is qualitatively higher than when reading a simplistic story with an obvious conflict and an obvious resolution to it.


The whole bunch of spy novels, thrillers, murder mysteries are among those that have these intense conflict situations and give the reader satisfaction of having read a good story. The Bourne series and the James Bond series have on display the eternal conflict between good and bad, with a lot of drama, espionage and action, before the good guy wins. Even though every reader knows that the good guys always win, the sequence of events is written in an exciting manner such that you wait anxiously to know how it actually happens.  Or the fantasies such as Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, where conflict is to be experienced not only between the protagonists and the villain, but at multiple levels by the different characters. 


And then there are those books that talk of conflict within oneself, the internal turmoil that one faces. They could be the coming-of-age books where the protagonists find themselves through a lot of self-doubt and questioning. Books such as The Catcher in the Rye, or To Kill a Mocking Bird which exemplify this internal turmoil wonderfully, and also bring out other social conflicts prevalent in those times.


Pick up any book and you will come across conflict at some level, in varying degrees. Search for any genre, any author, and conflict will emerge. And if you are conflicted about what to read next, just visit the books section here and be spoilt for choice.      
 

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Mon,Jun 10th 2013 2:21 PM