Conflict is a Story Itself

By Irene Daro. Irene, 37, lives in Surigao City, Philippines. Please read her article and leave thoughts and comments below.

“If there’s no conflict, there are no stories worth telling-or reading.” Veronica Roth

I agree, because for me, conflict is in nature. When we say conflict, the world is created and developed by/with conflict; then, everything becomes worth seeing, worth hearing, worth smelling, worth tasting, worth touching and worth telling–and when written, it is worth reading. Conflict is a story itself. Just like how the cold and the hot temperatures can create explosion due to its opposite properties. When there is no conflict, there would be no better ideas, and there would be no improvement in a particular situation and in a single story. Conflict occurs when there are opposing ideas, and opposing forces.

It is not just observed in the written stories in special genres. The conflict is the driver of each story on how it challenges life against certain situation and resolve. The value of reading stories depends on the conflict and the resolution–without the conflict, there is no resolution.

It is even observed in the real life. When a mother scolded her child, and the child answers back, it is a form of conflict by words. When a student fights against the snatcher, it is another form of conflict by force. When you are hesitant whether to go to the party or to go to the cinema, it is a conflict forming in the mind. The conflict, created the roles of the protagonist and antagonist whether in real life or in the world of literature–and even at this moment, conflict of ideas or opinions make the statements worth reading as it enables the readers, the examiners, the judges to look for a better argument as their minds interact with the opinions of the authors which could either make them agree or disagree on each certain points, that’s a form of conflict. It gives life on each topic.

Here is an example of how it generates emotions when you read or even listen to these two different situations:

Maria sleeps two times a day and through the whole night. When she wakes up, she eats breakfast, then sleep again. When she wakes up, she eats for lunch and takes a nap. When she wakes up, she eats for dinner, and then goes to bed. She does it every day and night.”

In the example, there is no conflict. The situation is just a plain narrative of what Maria does every time she wakes up. That would happen if there is no conflict; the story usually keeps on repeating without interruption, and when there is no interruption by another situation, there is no new situation comes up. The story won’t change and there is no even an argument. Whereas;

“Maria slept last night, when her boyfriend threw a stone on her window that woke her up. Her boyfriend climbed up through the window tried to get inside when Maria’s mother opened her unlocked door and got in. Her mother saw the fingers holding on the window sill and was furious while calling her husband. The husband took his hand gun and headed to Maria’s room. Maria tried to stop her parents when she saw her boyfriend got stuck and could not jump below. Her boyfriend could not reach the wooden ladder as it fell down before he even reached the window sill…”

Which of the two is worth telling or reading? The second example, it shows conflict by force when Maria tried to stop her parents and while her boyfriend tried to get away, but got stuck.

The listeners or the readers will get excited and even guess what will happen next and because of the conflict, the listeners or the readers are expecting for the outcome apart of interacting with the situation of the characters by cheering, telling what the characters should do; without conflict, no outcome to be expected. That’s why conflict is one of the elements in literature. It is the problem in the story which requires a solution when there is an opposing reaction of a person against a person, a person against the society, a person against the nature, a person against herself/himself or a person against his or her own situation. Conflict makes the real and the literature world’s better. Conflict happens every single second anywhere in the world and in our daily lives as we create our true-to-life stories unnoticed where some are the winners while some are the losers and some are born fighters who never gave up making their stories better and triumphant. Conflict is the argument itself and argument creates improvement for betterment–that’s what makes each story worth-telling.

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