Conflict As An Element Of Literature English Literature Essay

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In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. However, God also told Adam and Eve not to eat the fruit from a certain tree. Man defies the law of nature and created test tube babies, and now, cloning humans; Today's society has it all, along with the conflicts that exist with in our various relationships. Be them spiritual, physical, or emotional, most relationships have conflicts in some form.

Conflict is prevalent in all lives in different aspects. How we judge, and the final decisions we make is what determines ones values and integrity. Conflicts exist mainly because we struggle with moral reasoning when faced with making important decisions. Forcing ourselves to think critically about the situation before we form a conclusion or pass judgment requires disciplining, an attribute many in today's society lack. For the most part, many of our decisions are made based on how we view, or think about something. In short, our values and integrity are displayed, and we question deeply if this is this right or wrong, who will get hurt, who will benefit from this, and the many other implications involved with decision making.

The poem, "To My Dear and Loving Husband" (DiYanna, 2007, p 1077), the central theme is - "Love and Marriage." The wife is expressing her undying love, commitment, dedication, respect, and loyalty to her husband in the poem. The two works I have chosen to connect this poem too are these two short stories: "Marriage is a Private Affair" (DiYanni, 2007, pp 373-377) and "The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky" (DiYanni, 2007, pp 482-489) demonstrating the element of "Conflict" in the short stories.

My impression of Anne Bradstreet's poem is that of a beautiful tribute from a wife, to her husband of many years. Her warmth and choice of words were those of actual experience. These words could only be spoken if you witness a marriage of this respect, and trust, loyalty, or you lived it yourself. In any event, this couple has weather the storm and it is pretty much smooth sailing from this point on. However, looking at this poem critically, line five could make one questioned if there was a struggle or conflict earlier to make the wife form the conclusion she did in line five. "I prize they love more than whole mines of gold or all the riches that the East doth hold" (DiYanni, 2007, p 1077).

In the story titled, "Marriage is a Private Affair", there were a lot of conflicts between Nnaemeka and his father Okeke. This is because of his father's cultural believed. Nonetheless, Nnaemeka, and Nene loved and were commitment to each other. They preserved, and they were married now, raising a family. However, the first conflict occurred between Nnaemeka and Nene, when he was not honest and up front about his reluclentess to inform his to his father Okeke, about his engagement to Nene. Not knowing all the facts, Nene, could not understand the big deal about waiting until Nnaemka was face to face with his father, at least until she was told about the Ibo's tradition. (DiYanni, 2007, p 373).

It was customary for the fathers to arrange the marriages of their children to whom they thought were a good match. Okeke arranged for Nnaemeka to marry Ugoye Neveke, daughter of his neighbor Jacob. (DiYanni, 2007, p 374). Although Nene was a nice girl with good qualities, (a school teacher at a girls school), with high Christian values, but, because she was not a Ibo, and was not the girl Nnaemeka father arranged for him to marry, Okeke would not give his son his blessing to marry Nene. (DiYanni, 2007, p 373) Instead he distanced himself from his son, grandsons, and daughter-in-law. Also, during this time, the Ibo culture felt that women should be silent, and not allowed to teach, this was considered the work of Satan. (DiYanni, 2007, p 374).

After eight years of not communicating with his father, and Okeke returning wedding pictures with Nene face torn from the pictures, and replying back with a nasty unwelcoming letters. Nene decided to take matters into her own hands. She wrote Okeke and requested he see his grandsons who really wanted to meet him. (DiYanni, 2007, p 376). Okeke breaks down after Nene letter and starts evaluating his current situation, realizing that he has been a fool, and he has wasted so much precious time with his son, and grand-sons, out of hatred for his daughter-in-law. And now with the stress of being so mean and honery, he might not live long enough to make up for the mistake and bad treatment to Nene. (DiYanni, 2007, p 376).

We find a lot of conflict in our relationships in today's society. Many parents still arrange marriages for their children. Maybe not as bluntly as Okeke announced, but in a more suttle approach. Forbidding their children to marry out of or below their social and economic class, which accounts for many of the courthouse weddings, and eloping?

Is it fair to say that because our culture does not acknowledge, arranged marriages, this practice is wrong in the eyes of other cultures that practice this? In the Western days, the bride's father use to pay a substantially monetary gift to the young groom for asking for his daughter hand in marriage. Also, in the Western era, instead of an engagement ring to announce the engagement, livestock and other gifts were given. If arranged marriages are considered wrong, then shouldn't paying someone to marry your daughter be as equally wrong also?

In this multi-culture society we live in today, learning how other cultures live and behave would benefit all people in the world. This would help eliminate the disrespect associated with making pre-judgment before evaluating all of the facts. To the cultures who favor and practice arranged marriages, including the Western era. They might think it is strange or wrong for the bride's family to pay for all of the wedding expenses, as we do in our society. Although today, many couples are splitting the expense between them, and not including their parents at all. However, even in our civilized culture and society of today, mother's of couples bearing all of the expense for their own wedding, would consider it an insult not to be included the planning, and decision making process.

"The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky", another newly married couple encounters conflict in their marriage before it really starts. Like Nnaemeka, Jack Potter decided it would be better to inform the townspeople of this marriage after it took place; "Instead of notifying the town via telegraph, a new cowardice had been upon him.

This new wife is devoted to her new husband; therefore, she senses his worrying about something. (DiYanni, 2007, p 484). From the narrator's description of the bride of Yellow Sky, it was clear she was a plain county girl that had not been exposed too much, and did not want to embarrass her new husband by appearing lost and unfamiliar with traveling. "Ever been in a parlor-car before?" he asked, smiling with delight. "No," she answered; "I never was. Its fine, isn't it?"

"The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky reminds me of the Western television series "Bonanza." Jack Potter is more like the character 'Hoss', who was played by actor, Dan Blocker. I image from the narrator's description that Jack is a man of his late thirties or early forties, has never married, and has seen a few places in the world. His is not a rich man, but does fairly well for himself as the marshal of Yellow Sky. His adobe house cannot be compared to the spread of the "Ponderosa", owned by the 'Cartwright's' on "Bonanza" , but one can assume it is modest and more than comfortable for Jack and his new bride. I choose the character 'Hoss" to compare Jack to because they are both descried as big broad men in size, but had the demeanor of a kitten. Although 'Little Joe', (Hoss's younger brother) was the real lady's man, and loved showing off for the ladies, he was not the marrying and settling down type. The only comparison Jack had to 'Little Joe' at this time, was the way he was proudly boasting to his new bride, as if he was a real statesman, or a educated, world wildly gentleman. Something as simple as a train ride across Texas was a big deal for a lady that had never left San Antonio. Knowing these things about his bride, Jack feel like a bigger man than he really was, however, still worrying about how he was going to introduce his new wife to the townspeople.

From the knowledge I have gained watching old re-runs of the Western Series "Bonanza and Gunsmoke", I was able to identify with the language very well in the stories poem. I especially liked the part when the narrator was describing how Jack was planning his escape route from the train station to his adobe home, without being noticed by any of the townspeople. "He resolved that he would use all the devices of speed and plains craft in making the journey from the station to his house" (DiYanni, 2007, p 484).

The section involving Scratchy Wilson was a big disappointment to me and really had little meaning. Yes, I could relate to a town, or neighborhood drunk, I think everybody has one; there are just at different social class of drunks. I could see Jack enforcing his authority as the town marshal, and speaking with a little embarrassment at the same time when Scratchy Wilson confronted him in the street while he and his bride were on their way home. The only thing the narrator described about Jack's new wife reacted to Scratchy Wilson's behavior that was not of any interest to me was "her face turned as yellow as old cloth. She was a slave to hideous rites, gazing at the apparitional snake."

Did she have this look because this was the first time this type of behavior had ever in front of her, or did the look catch her off guard, because Jack had not told his new bride what his occupation was? I never read anywhere any the story where the bride knew her new husband was the towns marshal? While reading this part of the story, I felt the wife's expression and related it to an experienced I had when I found out my ex-husband had been lying to me about his affairs. Each time something new would come up, I could remember me saying to myself, 'how many more surprises will I have to endure before I finally know this man I call my husband, and the end of his embarrassing affairs are exposed?" The narrator did give adequate credit and attention to Jack's wife at appropriate times, however, to me; he cheated the wife out of her just due. I feel that Scratchy Wilson could have had less of a role, and more descriptions and details given to the wife.

After reading the various assigned literary works, I noticed I was drawn to the love and marriage works over all. My selection of the stories and poem I wrote about all related to my current life, or my many past experiences. In the poem, "To My Dear and Loving Husband", Anne's description of this wife, described the wife I was for a large part of my twenty -two years marriage. However, unable to dodge the storms that the wife dodged, and preserver, I did not accomplish a final destiny or "until death do us apart." The struggles of life ate away at that bond, causing all havoc to break loose and come cashing down on my forever after.

I was raised by my grandparents in a strict religious environment, and their values were similar to Okeke's when it came to selecting a suitable mate for their many daughters. My ex-husband is thirteen years older than me, and twenty-six years ago that was considered a big deal in my grandparent's eyes. For a young woman with hardly any experiences to consider marrying a man with so much more experience about life in general. Needless to say, I went against the wishes of my grandparents and marry this man anyway; just as Nnaemeka, married Nene. To an extent I married out of my class as Nnaemeka, but it was not viewed as a sin and an act of Satan, nor was I banded from my family because of this choice. Teachers were then, and still are today, held in high regards when it comes to moral values and integrity. Therefore, this was just a cultural difference or conflict that Okeke had to deal with.

In this multi-cultural society we live in today, interacting with the various cultures helps us understand why certain actions or behavior on their behalf is not wrong, and like wise when it comes to the rules we govern ourselves by. Just because arranged marriages are not social acceptable in our society, does not make it wrong in the Ibo Tribe's society. As a reader, I could relate to not marrying for love, therefore, marrying the same class mate as you, rather than taking a chance and standing for love.

Reading the story "The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky I reflected back on how this story truly and honestly related to me. Although there are examples which can describe me in my younger days, like, not being as experience as my ex-husband. During our early years in the marriage, I felt like the bride did on the train ride home to Yellow Sky. "Ever been in a parlor-car before?" he asked, smiling with delight. "No," she answered; "I never was. Its fine, isn't it?" (DiYanni, 2007, p 482) A lot of things I was very dumb on compared to my ex-husband.

This story relates more to me indirectly as a mother-in-law. My daughter-in-law displayed signs of nervousness and worriness about six months before her marriage to my son started to detoriate. Deep down, I always felt she was guilty of adultery, but I could not prove it, nor did I want to be the barrier of bad news to my son. He was really committed to making the marriage work, and being a good father and husband. Unfortunately, her nervous behavior made me focus on her more closely. Finally I was convinced she was committing adultery; and one night in question, I told my son about my suspicions thru a scenario that would allow him to catch her in the act. Of course this ended the marriage, and my grandson ended up in a split home, so joint custody was decided on since both parent wanted custody of him. My conflict in this delemmina was either way things went; my grandson was going to suffer not having both parents in one house like he wants.

The works selected, demonstrate how conflict plays a role in everything we do in life, being it negative, or positive. The authors who shared their conflicts thru life experiences, and account of events, through their great literary works, thus proving, conflict does exist in literature Responsible and moral reasoning are always presented where conflict is involved in sound decision making; especially when there are consequences, or right and wrong options are involved.

My final analysis and basis for my paper can be summarized as we all endure some type of conflict in our life. The various literary works studied, and posts responded to indicates conflict is a normal process each of us encounters at different stages in our life.

Each literary work selected demonstrated the most common conflict known to humans. The struggles and conflicts we fight are within us. However, the authors selected and analyzed in this paper, found creative ways of expressing and dealing with the conflicts that presented themselves in their lives through great literary works, as those I have selected.

Utilizing Ann Bradstreet's poem "To My Dear and Loving Husband", as a connector to highlight my central theme of Love and Marriage. I used the two short stories, Chihua Achebe's, "Marriage is a Private Affair", and Stephen Crane's, "The Bride Comes to Yellow Sky", As my two connectors. The three works are connected thru the theme of love and marriage. "Conflict" is the element utilized to finalize the works to make the connection.

However, after reading the text over and over again and paying attention to the tips and guidance provided me through the discussion board between my classmates, and instructor, I was able to make a connection. This connection allowed me to understand not all, but many of the literary works assigned to read. My expanded knowledge of literature has also helped me develop a slight appreciation for literature as well. For now, I know how to connect the works to my experiences, and share in the creative mines of the great Poets I have been studying. I did not discover thru my research that conflict was good or bad thing. However, what I did discover was that conflict does exist in almost every aspect of our lives, including literature.