Saturday, June 20, 2009

My heart's not in it

internal conflict--a battle between two or more opposing forces within an individual, a culture, or a society; choices a character makes that impact his behavior in a story; the agony of moral choice written large as dramatic issue.

The key word in an internal conflict is but, which translates as "except for the fact;" but is the tin can tied as a prank to the rear bumper of a car, it is the conditional divide between the two warring forces that tug at the character. But is the fulcrum, the contingency with which the afflicted character lives. Sound dramatic principle dictates an internal conflict step forth in front rank characters, Mark Anthony the soldier and Mark Anthony the lover. Similarly there is Cleopatra struggling through the emotions of the lover and the duties and responsibility of the queen.

A protagonist may be a natural leader, except that he freezes in arguments; a scientist may be devoted to the pursuit of her research but feels compromised for once having managed the outcome of one of her more significant studies. Huckleberry Finn may admire and respect the runaway slave, Jim, but feels his conscience being conflicted because, after all, Jim was his master's property and Huck has effectively helped Jim escape from his rightful owner.

The conflict may be essentially internal,particularly in the short story, but it will have an effect on the way significant characters behave and in the way the reader feels.

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