Most stories are made up of some kinds of conflict, and it is the job of the students of literature to analyse what type of conflicts drive the story. The description of conflicts makes up a huge part of any literature dissertation.
Some novels or short stories or poems are made up on just one type of conflict, while others are made up of two or three types of conflicts. If students were to read enough stories over a period of time they will be able to identify that all works of literature have conflicts that broadly fall into a few categories.
1. One of the first types and one that can be found in almost every work of literature is the struggle against the self. The protagonist is involved in a struggle to alter his own nature or his own destiny.
2. The second most common type is the fight between characters. Most stories involve heroes and villains and the struggle between them.
3. The third type of conflict and one which can often be found in social dramas is the fight by the protagonists to change society and the evils found in it.
4. There are some great works of literature which involve the fight between the lead characters and nature. The characters often find themselves in trying circumstances like an avalanche, or a sea storm, the burst of a volcano or excessively cold and hot weather. The fight with nature is a recurring theme in adventure literature.
5. Then there is the battle with God, where usually the main character questions his faith and the unfairness of the life he has been given.
The students will have to read the piece of literature thoroughly before starting on their dissertation so that they identify all the conflicts in the story and record them accurately.