Conflict: A state of discord caused by the actual or perceived opposition of needs, values, and interests. A conflict can be internal (within oneself) or external (between two or more individuals). The Latin word conflictus was dated from the mid 15th century describing a psychic struggle between opposing or incompatible impulses, desires, or tendencies. Conflict as a concept can help explain many aspects of social life such as social disagreement, conflicts of interests, and fights between individuals, groups, or organizations.
Example: This term amazingly describes the situation of the novel In the Skin of a Lion written by Michael Ondaatje 1987. Conflicts exist in variety of levels in the fictional novel; mentioning different types within the society and between the characters. One example would be Patrick Lewis, who faces many challenges through the sense of love and hate. Ondaatje reveals to his readers “He was an abashed man, an inheritance from his father. Born in Abashed, Ontario. What did the word mean? Something that suggested there was a terrible horizon in him beyond which he couldn’t leap” (Ondaatje 157). Not only does Patrick resist the battle with his lost soul searching and fighting over the women he desires, he caused many conflicts to his surroundings as well. To gain strength and identity Patrick blows up the Muskoka Hotel and breaks into the waterworks with a plan to blow up Mr. Harris’s water filtration plant. The novel has a way of criticizing society and the people within it. It is written with a tone of understanding and gives us a chance to relate with the main character and the ordeals he goes through as part of growing up.
“Conflict” Dictionary.com | Find the Meanings and Definitions of Words at Dictionary.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Feb. 2011.
Ondaatje, Michael. In the skin of a lion. New York: Knopf, 1987. Print.