31 Conflict

If stories were without conflicts or tension, we would be easily bored. The conflict is usually the heart of the story and revolves around the main character. What does Harry struggle with? The main conflict is Harry’s attempt to stop Voldemort, the murderer of his parents, from stealing the Philosopher’s Stone. So, it is a classical fight between good and evil forces. We also note that the world of the wizards clashes with the world of the Muggles, where the Muggles are represented by the stupid Dursleys. These are outer conflicts threatening Harry. However, there are also conflicts going on inside Harry; like, should he:

  • Avenge the murder of his parents?
  • Live by the wizard rules and obligations?
  • Punish the Dursleys for treating him so badly?
  • Boast of his skills and abilities?
  • Be loyal to his friends?

Conflicts are important to stories to make them interesting.

There may be outer and inner conflicts.

Conflict: a struggle between opposing forces.

A conflict is a misunderstanding or clash of interests that develops in the story. This often occurs between main characters. It drives the story forward and creates suspense.

If a story had no conflict, it would be very boring. A conflict is basically a situation which has to change.


In a story where someone finds a lump of gold, the conflicts will probably revolve around who gets to keep this gold. The conflict here would involve greed.

If a plane crashes in the mountains, the conflict will deal with survival.

But conflicts may also be on a personal level – like in novels where a person struggles with emotional issues or moral dilemmas.


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Introduction to Literature Copyright © by William Stewart is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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