Types of Literary Conflict

Literary conflict is an essential part of any story. Conflict is what drives us to finish a story. In literature, we define conflict as there being different drives or objectives for the characters or forces in a story. For example, Johnny wants a new bike, but he doesn't have enough money to buy it. This is a conflict. Johnny wants a bike, and the store wants money. Two forces with opposing objectives. The interest for the reader comes in how the conflict will be resolved. Conflict is often at the root of all story plots.

There are four basic types of conflict that we see in literature. While there are others, they are almost always some variation of these four.

  1. Man vs. Man
  2. Man vs. Nature
  3. Man vs. Society
  4. Man vs. Nature

To learn more about these four, read through the presentation and image below.

Literary Conflict


Now that you are an expert in conflict in literature, head over to the assignment page for Lesson 2 to learn about your next task.