Note: conflict may be internal (in the character’s mind) or external (between the character and exterior forces) Assignment instructions

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There are 4 excerpts for you to read. Each has a main type of conflict as well as small opposing forces. Your task is to identify and explain the type of conflicts within each story. Note: conflict may be internal (in the character’s mind) or external (between the character and exterior forces)

Assignment instructions:

Answer the set of questions found below each passage. Type your responses on this page or copy/paste the questions to a new file (name it: 7.2 Types of Conflict)

Story 1: “Sporting That Strangely Piercing Look”

(from a newspaper article written by Sharon Lindores, writer for the Kingston Whig-Standard)

Sean Greene was hired by Telus Planet, long-distance over the phone, sight unseen.

But the fact that the computer analyst wears silver barbell jewelry to work doesn’t matter because Telus has a fairly progressive attitude.

“The company has a reputation and image as a forward-thinking company and obviously style, trends, and fashion help make for a dynamic workforce,” said Jeff Welke, Telus manager of external communications. “So we wouldn’t think of discriminating against that.”

Facial jewelry is becoming more and more the status quo in the under-35 age group.

But companies faced with employees wearing rings on their eyebrows or lips are still grappling with public perception.

Shawn Paulson, Telus human resources representative, agreed pierced faces wouldn’t be an issue in terms of hiring. He hinted that people dealing with the public may have to use some discretion in some departments.

But Greene, 32, wears a silver barbell through the top of his nose bridge and another barbell lengthwise through his left ear at work.

He’s offered to lose the more potentially offensive ear barbell if he gets an internal transfer. (You can’t see his nose barbell when he wears glasses).

“If something’s at stake like a job, I want as much on my side as possible,” Greene said. “I don’t want to possibly offend anyone.”

He was told it wasn’t necessary to remove the jewelry.

That’s also what Danika Dennis, 18, was told when she forgot to take her eyebrow ring out for work at a local car dealership.

She though it was great to be able to wear it to work.

Dennis, who works in the back shop, was originally hired as a work experience student. The school‘s coordinator told her to take the ring out when she went for her job interview. Dennis did and she took it out for work as well until she discovered that nobody cared if she did wear it.

The firm’s service manager was hesitant about the topic and that his name not be used in this article. He said piercings don’t bother him personally.

“ But I don’t think we’d allow it (employees with pierced eyebrows or lips) in front of the public,” he said. “We don’t have a set policy in place for ear piercing or whatever.”

The military does.

And now that Dennis has joined the military, she’ll have to start taking her eyebrow ring out again.

Women are restricted to wearing only one earring per ear.

“They’re very strict,” Dennis said.

  1. Decide if the conflict in this article is person vs. society or person vs. person. Explain.

  2. This quote “ But I don’t think we’d allow it (employees with pierced eyebrows or lips) in front of the public,” he said. “We don’t have a set policy in place for ear piercing or whatever,” suggests a person vs. person conflict. Explain how.

Story 2: Motorbike (from the blog post written by David Thorne (

I recently bought a dirt bike. A YZ250F for those interested in such things. To justify buying the motorbike, I told Holly that it was for her. "If you learn to ride," I said, "I will buy a second bigger one for myself and we can go riding together on trails."

On Sunday afternoon, we drove to a secluded area in the forest and unloaded the bike.

"What's this button do? asked Holly as she hopped on, "Is that to start it?"

"That's a bolt. You have to kick start it," I replied, showing her how to put it in neutral and start the engine.

"Where's the accelerator?" asked Holly.

"You twist the right-hand grip," I answered, "And it's not called an accelerator on a motorbike, it's called a throttle."

"Well that's just stupid, I'm going to call it an accelerator," responded Holly.

"If you are not going to take this seriously you probably shouldn't..."

"I am taking it seriously," Holly cut in, "You're not the boss of names. Just show me how to make it go. If you can ride a motorbike it can't be rocket science."

"Ok, fine," I said, "Squeeze the clutch and put it in gear. No, you press down for first..."

"So the clutch is called a clutch and the accelerator is called something stupid?" Holly interrupted, "Why didn't they just call the clutch a squeezer?"

"What?" I replied, "It doesn't matter what it's called, you have to squeeze the clutch and release it slowly as you increase the thro... the accelerator. It's exactly the same process as driving a manual car."

"I'm going to call it a squeezer from now on," stated Holly, "So I just twist the whatsit and let go of the squeezer?"

"Well, yes," I answered, "But you have to release the squeezer slowly and twist the accelerator at the same time otherwise the bike will stall. And if you give it too much accelerator and let go of the squeezer too quickly, it will take off and you will probably crash."

"Ok," said Holly as she twisted the throttle to maximum and let go of the clutch to give me a 'thumbs up'.

The bike tore forward and Holly, now horizontal and screaming, travelled about twenty meters with the throttle in a death grip before developing speed wobble and being thrown off. The bike flipped a few times before coming to a halt.

Running towards her, I saw Holly climb unsteadily to her feet, hold out her arms as if doing an impression of a plane caught in turbulence, then fall over again. Kneeling at her side and asking if she was ok, Holly turned to me, focused, and said, "You are a terrible [freaking] teacher."

Questions for “Motorbike”

  1. The narrator is also a character. What is this point of view?

  2. What is the main type of conflict happening (i.e. man/woman vs.____________). Find an example from the story to support your answer.

  3. Holly is also facing a conflict that is different from the narrator’s. Explain what it is?

Story 3: “The Dog That Bit People” (from the short story by James Thurber)

But the Airedale, as I have said, was the worst of all my dogs. He really wasn't my dog, as a matter of fact: I came home from a vacation one summer to find that my brother Roy had bought him while I was away. A big, burly, choleric' dog, he always acted as if he thought I wasn't one of the family. There was a slight advantage in being one of the family, for he didn't bite the family as often as he bit strangers. Still, in the years that we had him he bit everybody but mother, and he made a pass at her once but missed. That was during the month when we suddenly had mice, and Muggs refused to do anything about them. Nobody ever had mice exactly like the mice we had that month. They acted like pet mice, almost like mice somebody had trained. They were so friendly that one night when mother entertained at dinner the Friraliras, a club she and my father had belonged to for twenty years, she put down a lot of little dishes with food in them on the pantry floor so that the mice would be satisfied with that and wouldn't come into the dining room. Muggs stayed out in the pantry with the mice, lying on the floor, growling to himself—not at the mice, but about all the people in the next room that he would have liked to get at. Mother slipped out into the pantry once to see how everything was going. Everything was going fine. It made her so mad to see Muggs lying there, oblivious of the mice—they came running up to her—that she slapped him and he slashed at her, but didn't make it. He was sorry immediately, mother said. He was always sorry, she said, after he bit someone, but we could not understand how she figured this out. He didn't act sorry.

Questions for “The Dog That Bit People”

  1. Who are the characters in this story?

  2. What is the main type of conflict happening (i.e. man/woman vs.____________). Find 2 examples from the story to support your answer.

  3. Mother causes some conflict between Muggs and the narrator. How does she do this?

Story 4: A Trail Between The Trees by Dylan Sherrard (Pinkbike: Life in the Loops)
I began to feel my knees burn and I looked up to a row of dead pine trees lining the left of the trail. There weren’t many of those red, dead, alienated creatures towering over the trails in that forest, but there was a special one whose branches formed a “Y” near the top. Late one evening earlier in the season, moments before the sky was enveloped in absolute darkness; I spotted a great horned owl standing in the bridge of the “Y.” I could have easily mistaken him for a shadow if it weren’t for his little white beard and lemon stare. I won’t soon forget the way my fascination grew each time he called, but each time I pass that tree without spotting him again it seems more possible that I only imagined the short few moments I stood transfixed in his piercing gaze.
As I scanned the tops of trees I acknowledged that I would not see the owl that day. I also noticed that very few raindrops remained falling from the concrete sky, but as the trail climbed on steeper I could feel the aftermath of the storm in every slippery pedal stroke and in every stinging breath. I stood up to sprint through the vertical swamp and struggled with my search for traction.
I could have stepped off and walked at that point. My lungs were on fire and I was choking on my heartbeat. There was nobody there for me to prove myself to and I’d become doubtful that I’d accomplish anything with that ride. But despite my aching fingers and frozen little toes, it didn’t feel like the day to allow the forest the satisfaction of witnessing me give in to my woes. The top of the trail was a hell of lot nearer than it was far, so I hammered on upward and allowed the suffering to swallow me whole.

Questions for “A Trail Between The Trees”

  1. There are 2 types of conflict in this narrative. What are they?

  2. Find 2 examples to support each type of conflict. (remember to use quotation marks)

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