Internal Conflict:

mental struggle arising from opposing demands or impulses.

Conflicts in Literature

In literature, there are two kinds of conflict: Internal and External


Internal conflict is described as person against self.


Definition: The protagonist struggles with opposing forces, emotions, beliefs, and/or values with their self.

Tough Decisions

Internal conflict is usually consistent of a tough decision that our main character or protagonist has to make.


Example: When you are in the cafeteria, and you are conflicted as to weather you should get pizza or a sandwich, you are experiencing internal conflict.

Purpose?

Internal conflict is often used to create suspense.


Suspense is defined as "Mental uncertainty" and "Pleasant excitement as to a decision or outcome." (www.merriam-webster.com)


So what does this mean?

As the story progresses, excitement can be caused by the options presented to a character and by how he/she makes a decision through their emotions, beliefs, and/or values.

Lord of the Flies

In Goulding's Lord of the Flies (LOTF), Goulding often uses internal conflict as a literary tool. One of the best examples is Ralph's challenge to to stay civil and not slip into complete savagery.

Cold Sassy Tree

Another example of internal conflict arises in Carol Burns, "Cold Sassy Tree," when Will Blakeslee is unsure whether he should love or hate his grandfather, Rucker Blakeslee, after Rucker marries almost immediately after his grandmother's death.

Hamlet

In Shakespeare's "Hamlet," you can see internal conflict as hamlet fights his sanity. Although it is unclear whether or not he is insane, he is driven towards insanity by his fathers death and his uncle and mother's behavior and actions. The Internal conflict is not with his uncle and mother's actions, but how he feels about them and what action he should take.