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Activity Overview

There are many instances of conflict within A Christmas Carol. Some are internal, where the character has conflicting feelings within himself (Man vs. Self). Others are external, where a character has an argument or fight with another character (Man vs. Man). There might also be other types: Man vs. Society, or Man vs. Nature. Show an example of both internal and external conflict from the story.

Literary Conflict in A Christmas Carol

Internal Conflict: MAN vs. SELF

Scrooge visits his nephew's Christmas celebration with the Ghost of Christmas Present, and he experiences the push and pull between his greed and his old memories of joyous family time with his sister.

Template and Class Instructions

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Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that shows at least three forms of literary conflict in A Christmas Carol.

  1. Identify conflicts in A Christmas Carol.
  2. Categorize each conflict as Character vs. Character, Character vs. Self, Character vs. Society, Character vs. Nature, or Character vs. Technology.
  3. Illustrate conflicts in the cells, using characters from the story.
  4. Write a short description of the conflict below the cell.

Lesson Plan Reference

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(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

Types of Literary Conflict Rubric for Middle School
Create a storyboard that shows at least three forms of literary conflict from the story. Support your choices with evidence from the text.
Proficient Emerging Beginning
Conflict Identification
Student identifies conflicts as directed and labels them accurately in their correct categories.
Student misidentifies one conflict or includes it in an incorrect category.
Student misidentifies two or more conflicts or includes them in incorrect categories.
Conflict Explanation
The storyboard text describes the specific example depicted, not just a general problem. The text clearly explains how the example reflects its particular type of conflict.
The storyboard text describes the specific example depicted, but may lack clarity. Text may fail to fully explain how the example reflects its particular type of conflict.
Storyboard is missing text or contains only partial and/or inaccurate information.
Storyboard Image and Effort
Student clearly shows effort to convey the setting, characters and specific scene of the book. The scene is clearly identifiable based on the graphic depiction.
Student attempts to convey the setting, characters, and specific scene through use of graphics, but the depiction may be confusing, disordered, or lack some detail.
Student does not clearly convey the setting, characters, and scene.
Spelling and Grammar
Student uses exemplary spelling and grammar. There are no errors.
Student makes one or two minor errors in spelling and grammar.
Student makes multiple errors in spelling and grammar.

How To Identify Internal and External Conflicts in A Christmas Carol


Give an Overview of Conflicts

Introduce the idea of literary conflicts to start. Describe conflicts as difficulties that characters encounter, either internally or in their dealings with others and the outside world. These difficulties give the personality of the character and advance the plot.


Examine Scrooge’s Inner Struggles

Encourage the students to consider Scrooge's inner struggles. Encourage them to focus on his innermost feelings and ideas. Talk about how Scrooge's internal conflicts result from his beliefs about Christmas, his lack of charity, and his remorse about the things he did in the past. Ask the students to point out crucial times when these internal struggles emerge.


Highlight Relationships and Interactions

Focus on Scrooge's interactions with other people before and after his transformation. Find the instances when he clashes with characters like Bob Cratchit or his nephew. Think about the causes of these conflicts and how they affect Scrooge's interactions with others around him.


Check For Sources of Conflict

Investigate where these disputes are coming from. Look at the things that make Scrooge respond negatively, such as his dislike of Christmas or his unwillingness to lend a helping hand. His own convictions and prior experiences serve as frequent triggers, offering insight into his nature.


Integrate with Themes and Development

Connect these conflicts to the main ideas of the narrative. Think about how they relate to concepts like personal development, atonement, and the consequences of one's decisions. Think about the bigger ideas that the story's conflicts are trying to get over.

Frequently Asked Questions About A Christmas Carol Literary Conflict

How can we interpret “A Christmas Carol” using the concept of conflicts?

Conflicts are essential to "A Christmas Carol" because they influence character growth and move the plot forward. They draw attention to Scrooge's internal troubles and his interpersonal issues. These conflicts help readers empathize with Scrooge and look up to his transformation.

What are some instances of the story's internal conflicts?

The battle Scrooge has with his beliefs about giving and kindness is an illustration of internal conflict. He struggles with his own attitudes toward Christmas and his previous deeds.

What are some instances of outside conflicts in the narrative?

Scrooge's disagreements with individuals like Bob Cratchit, his nephew Fred, and even the charity collectors are examples of external conflicts. His fragile connections and aversion to change are shown through these disputes. Scrooge’s initial disagreement with the ghosts is also an example of external conflict.

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