Conflict In Parker's Back Essay

1298 words - 5 pages

Who can dare say they have never encountered a conflict? No one is without conflict; there will never be a person who says they have never faced a problem. What is a conflict? Most think an opposition or a struggle of some nature. It can be that and more, to state it simply its man vs. anything; that anything can be nature, God, self, and even fellow man. Many of these can be observed in Parker’s Back written by Flannery O’Connor. Parker’s Back is a short story about a man named O.E. Parker who is obsessed with tattoos; the irony is he marries a religious woman who loathes tattoos. In Parker’s Back there are three types of conflict that appear man vs. man, man vs. self, and man vs. God.
Man vs. Man is a conflict that can be seen throughout the story. For example, when Parker is telling his wife Sarah Ruth about his tattoos. “ “I got most of my other ones in foreign parts,” Parker said. “These here I mostly got in the United States. I got my first one when I was only fifteen years old.” “Don’t tell me,” the girl said, “I don’t like it. I ain’t got any use for it.” “You ought to see the ones you can’t see,” Parker said and winked” (O’Connor 2). Sarah automatically shows her distaste for them, later on even going so far as to call Parker a fool for having them. This particular problem can be witnessed though out the rest of the story. This struggle does not end even when the audience has arrived to the end of the story. For instance, when Parker slams his hand in the hood part of the car. “ “God dammit!” he hollered, “Jesus Christ in hell! Jesus God Almighty damn! God dammit to hell!” he went on, flinging out the same few oaths over and over as loud as he could. Without warning a terrible bristly claw slammed the side of his face and he fell backwards on the hood of the truck. “You don’t talk no filth here!” a voice close to him shrilled” (O’Connor 1). This is a perfect example of the differences in their personalities. The contrast of their personalities often leads to other conflicts man vs. man and man vs. self. In addition, at the end of the story when Sarah locks Parker outside and refuses to open the door, can also be an example of man vs. man. “Upon returning home at the story’s end, Parker comically attempts to assert his dominance, to colonize the space rather than apologize for coming home late and empty-handed. He slams his car door, stamps on the steps, and bangs on the front door, making “as much noise as possible to assert that he was still in charge here, that his leaving her for a night without word meant nothing except it was the way he did things”(CW672)”(Andrews). It seems in this controversy that Parker has no control of his household; it can be glimpsed throughout story. The conflict man vs. man can affect the other two conflicts of man vs. self and man vs. God. These three examples all show external conflicts which is man vs. man.
The next conflict is man vs. self which is parker vs. himself. For example, amid the first...

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