Essay Conflicts on a Thing of Beauty and Sorry Wrong Number
Which one has a greater impact on and why? In Sorry, Wrong Number and A Thing of Beauty, there are four conflicts that can be seen, internal, how a character struggles with himself or herself, relational, between two peoples, societal, between a character and a group and situational, conflict with a certain situation. Internal conflict is portrayed when the character, Mrs. Stevenson, is struggling with herself. When Mrs.
Stevenson heard the sound of the phone receiver being lifted on the same extension line as her, “(Click of receiver being put down on Mrs. Stevenson’s line)” She was attempting to get help from the Operator yet the Operator was not bothering about her at all. She is scared, thinking that if she does not pick it up, if she does not let them hear her and she is quiet, they would not realize that she is there and eventually they’ll leave her house. However, she is in a dilemma when she realised that if she does not call for help, there would be no time for anyone to save her. I won’t pick it up; I won’t let them hear me. I’ll be quiet – and they’ll think … But if I don’t call someone now – while they’re still down there – there’ll be no time… ” This shows that she is caught in a tight spot trying to decide the best and safest solution to save herself. In A Thing of Beauty, internal conflict is when the Prioress is being made by the Colonel to choose between nineteen nuns or Edith Stein. She is in a predicament as to whether to save nineteen nuns’ lives by giving up Edith Stein or saving Edith Stein by sacrificing nineteen nuns’ lives.
Either way, the Prioress is forced to “wield the power of life and death over” them and is going against her believes in her religion. Therefore, the Prioress is sandwiched between two tough and equally wrong options. It is also seen towards the end of the play. After the Prioress’ outburst of confession, that “Sister Benedicta and Edith Stein are the same person”, the Colonel is troubled over whether to follow his head, send Edith Stein to the concentration camp and complete what he came here to do, or to follow his heart, and let the Jew, Edith Stein, go as he has grown a respect for her hrough their mental battle of intelligence. He said, “A thing of goodness and beauty must be destroyed. It reflects and in its reflection, ugliness and brutality become uglier and more brutal and they must destroy it. It cannot survive. ” He said this to convince himself, his heart, that sending Edith Stein to the concentration camp and remaining faithful to his “religion”, Nazism. This suggests that he is troubled upon whether to follow his rational head or his immature heart.
The internal conflict that had more impact on me was A Thing of Beauty as it had made me think about which would have been a better choice, to save the nineteen nuns or Edith Stein for the Prioress or to listen to his head or his heart for the Colonel. Relational conflict is portrayed when Mrs. Stevenson is to convince Sergeant Duffy that there was a “murder going to happen to a poor woman who lived in a house by a bridge at eleven-fifteen” that night. Mrs.
Stevenson wanted Sergeant Duffy to be able to do something for the poor woman, which she did not know was indeed her, yet he seemed to her strangely calm and does not seem to take any care into trying to prevent the murderer. “A lot of murders are committed in this city every day ma’am. If we could do something to stop ‘em, we would. But a clue of this kind that’s so vague isn’t much more use to us than no clue at all. ” Through this, it is clear that Sergeant Duffy is not planning to investigate further before the murder actually happens. Thus, we can tell that they are arguing about how to help the victim of the murder.
In A Thing of Beauty, relational conflict is portrayed when the Colonel is asking Sister Benedicta questions, to “get the clearest answers from strange questions”. The Colonel is trying to see if Sister Benedicta is Edith Stein through his questions, but Sister Benedicta swiftly evades most of the questions and often, the conversations are lead to nowhere, often a mental battle between the two stubborn characters. When the Colonel said, “You’ve won the point, but I’ve won my bet”, Sister Benedicta’s reply, “Bet, Colonel? ” suggests that she is evading the Colonel’s questions cunningly.
The relational conflict that had more impact on me was Sorry Wrong Number. It shows that deep down, way deep down, maybe humans may not be such terrible beings. We maybe misguided, or blinded by our greed in this case but we still have this tiny speck of kindness in us. Societal conflict is portrayed when Mrs. Stevenson is struggling with a group of people. Mrs. Stevenson is seen getting frustrated and irritated when she is talking to the Operators and Chief Operator. It is clear that she is trying her best to keep herself calm, and is trying to reason it out with them.
As she talks to the different Operators, a common trait is found, she is trying very hard to get her pleas through them. The more she talks to the Operators and Chief Operator, the angrier, frustrated and annoyed she got by the fact that they could not do a simple thing like tracing a call. Mrs. Stevenson is said “(Sarcastically) Thank you” to the first Operator, is “(angrily)” talking to the Operator and after the Operator is not able to get to the two murderers. Thus, we can see that they are having troubles in communications and understanding.
In A Thing of Beauty, societal conflict can be seen when Edith Stein, who is a Jew, is struggling against the society back then during the Second World War. Edith Stein is wanted by the German Nazis, which has been capturing, killing and holding Jews in concentration camps. As Edith Stein, who was also Sister Benedicta, was a Jew, as a result of the Nazis coming after her, she hid and converted from the Jewish religion to the Catholic religion by becoming a Carmelite nun. However, this has made “the whole countryside aghast at the preposterous rumor”, saying that Edith Stein is in a Carmelite convent.
At the end of the play, Edith Stein was still “sent to the concentration in Auschwitz” because the Prioress had felt that saving her nineteen nuns was a wiser choice than believing in the equality that humans even if they are from different races or religions. Thus this suggests that Edith Stein, a Jew, had faced with mistreatment and even abuse. The societal conflict that had the greatest impact on me was A Thing of Beauty as I am a more realistic kind of person so it has a stronger impact on me as it is a issue that is real. It relates to racism and how the society is to people of different races.
For example, aboriginals face racism even as they walk on the street. Situational conflict is when Mrs. Stevenson attempts to get help from people but due to the situation she is in, is not able to. When Mrs. Stevenson heard the two murderers’ conversation, she attempts to get help from the Operators, Chief Operator and Sergeant Duffy, due to the era that the play is set in, the situation backfires as they are not able to do anything to help prevent the murder as the Operators cannot trace the call as it “depends on whether the call is still going on” and “if the parties have stopped talking to each other” they cannot trace the call.
Sergeant Duffy retorted to Mrs. Stevenson’s ranting with “Lady, I said we’d take care of it. (Glances at pie) Just now I’ve got a couple of other matters here on my desk that require his immediate” attention, therefore suggesting that he would be enjoying his pie instead of trying to prevent the murder as at this era, technology is not that advance so they cannot do much about the situation, thus the situational conflict. In A Thing of Beauty, situational conflict occurred when Edith Stein is struggling with the situation, the Second World War, the Holocaust.
The Nazis had captured nineteen nuns and threaten to execute “one every hour on the hour until the Stein woman is found”. This shows that due to the Nazis, innocent people could be put on the line in order to get what they want, in this case, Edith Stein. It also shows how cruel they could be to obtain their goals. Thus this shows how the situation had backfired on Edith Stein as she was captured because she was a Jew. The greater impact on me was A Thing of Beauty as it shows the monstrous side of humans, as they were convinced by Adolf Hitler and massacred the Jews.
It makes me feel that as a person, I should strive harder to be more accepting of other people. The drama which has the most impact on me is A Thing of Beauty. As it is has already happened, it has a realistic side to the plot of the play. It makes me think deeper and feel beyond, like why was Edith Stein targeted, what had caused this to happen, why did the writer of the play decided to write this play? It tugs at my heartstrings at how cruel and cold-blooded humans can be.
It makes us, as the next generation; reflect on the past’s mistakes. Unlike Sorry, Wrong Number, A Thing of Beauty, has made me realise that racial and religious harmony are important, especially for a multiracial country like Singapore. Should Singapore have a repeated history of the racial riots, many people would suffer for it. And lastly, unlike Sorry Wrong Number the internal conflict and external conflict could be seen clearly. I could easily tell that the Colonel was in a dilemma as he caught between his feelings and his believes.