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Conflict in the child by tiger again

Conflict in "The Child By Tiger"

"The Child by Tiger" is narrated by a man who is remembering an event

from his childhood. The story centers on Dick Prosser, who is a black hired hand

for Mr. Shepperton. Dick is involved in several levels of conflict throughout

the story.* These include intrapersonal conflicts, a conflict with society, and

conflict with his environment.

The first conflict is very important in the scheme of the story, because

it provides the necessary conditions for this kind of an event to take place.

This is Dick's conflict with his environment. Although he is a free man, and

seems to be very tolerant, Dick lives in a time and place where most people are

less than friendly to black men, and do not see him as an equal. This becomes

evident when the auto collision occurs, and the drunk man proceeds to assault

Dick without cause, and without fear of retaliation. This is because he knows

that a black man is powerless in the society of the time.

Society brings us to the second conflict, which is Prosser's conflict

with society. One night, without warning, he begins a killing spree which spans

the better part of a day, and spawns a fatal manhunt. His conflict with the

society in general is characterized by his indiscriminate choice of victims.

These victims range from a police officer to an innocent black man looking out

his window, to several citizens who try to put an end to his madness. This

conflict is stopped when the mob catches up to him, and he surrenders in

soldier-like fashion. The hint of the conflict lingers, however, when the mob

leader brags about killing "a big one."

The third and most interesting and complex type of conflict in this

story is the intrapersonal conflict within Dick. He shows two very distinct

sides which seem to intertwine at times. In the early going, he is portrayed as

friendly and polite. He is depicted playing with the children and listening to

the church services, singing songs. His Bible is always on the table, and he is

always a gentleman. During this time, however, there are glimpses of something

different within him. The incident with the driver, when his eyes go red, and

when he gets done reading the Bible. He also talks of judgment day coming for

the white folk. A major clue to this inner rage comes when the boys find the

gun, but he convinces them not to tell, so it will be a surprise. This is a

definite warning sign.

When the killings occur, there are no resins given or explanations made.

We can only assume that something brought out the dark side of Dick's

personality. The dark side is very evident as he methodically shoots the many

victims of his crime spree. But as the incident ends, takes off his shoes, and

gives up, almost a return to his original self.

The combination of elements, environment, and variety of conflict in

this story make for a very powerful and thought provoking read. Although it is

at times hard to follow, it is an excellent exploration human nature.

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