"The Pit and the Pendulum" Literary Conflict

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Literary Conflict in The Pit and the Pendulum

Example



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Activity Overview


Storyboarding is an excellent way to focus on types of literary conflicts.

Having students create storyboards that show the cause and effect of different types of conflicts strengthens analytical thinking about literary concepts. Have your students choose an example of each literary conflict and depict them using the storyboard creator. In the storyboard, an example of each conflict should be visually represented, along with an explanation of the scene, and how it fits the particular category of conflict.


MAN vs. SELF

The narrator is in conflict with himself. He knows that he has been found guilty, and he almost at times seems to accept his punishment. However, this does not stop him from trying to explore his dungeon, or escape from both the pendulum and the pit, suggesting that despite the real human reactions to such horrors, he also knows that he doesn’t deserve to die.


MAN vs. NATURE

The narrator battles the elements – contrived by man, still nonetheless out of his control – in the chamber. First, he must figure out how to escape from the pendulum. While on the board, his fingers are also bitten by rats as he tries to shoo them away from the meat. After he escapes the pendulum, he must try to push back against the walls, which are pushing him towards the pit, which offers nothing but death.


MAN vs. SOCIETY

The narrator is in this torture chamber to begin with because he was found guilty during the time of the Spanish Inquisition. While he does not explain why he was found guilty, common reasons for guilty sentences during the Spanish Inquisition included: practicing another religion in secret; heresy; refusal to convert; and political opposition to the monarchy.



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Template and Class Instructions

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Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that shows at least three forms of literary conflict in “The Pit and the Pendulum”.


  1. Identify conflicts in “The Pit and the Pendulum”.
  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.
  5. Save and submit the assignment.

Literary Conflict Template

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