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Conflict Can Reveal Unexpected Qualities in an Individual Essay

Philosopher Emerson once said “every coin has two sides; so do conflicts”. In the pages of human history, conflicts are unavoidable and while major conflicts such as war have been evil forces in the world it can also produce very positive results. That is not to say conflict is entirely positive. When conflict arises there are those individuals that show unexpected qualities; those assets that are sudden and unforseen. These assets can be seen in the movie The Sapphires through the character Dave and on a global scale through Mandela.

Unfortunately there are also those individuals who in the midst of conflict express unexpected negative traits. This can be seen through the characters Gail and Kay in The Sapphires and most recently through Eddie McGuire. Ultimately, until individuals are challenged we will never truly know how they will react. In times of a dilemma there are those persons who in the midst of chaos arise with abilities unpredicted. Conflict can be best described as a disagreement, clash or an argument between two parties usually concerning matters on beliefs, ideas or individuals.

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This is encountered throughout the movie The Sapphires and explores people’s reactions during conflict. Somewhat down on his luck the movie introduces the character of Dave, sleeping in his car, being woken by kids, stumbling in to his work with only a top and his undies on, and having a beer. This representation shows the audience Dave dishevelled and “on [his] last warning” from the licensee. When the girls get up on stage and perform they are welcomed with silence and disapproval.

During their song, however, Dave is impressed by their singing and plays the piano and when the judging is finalised and awarded he refutes the decision displaying a previously unnoticed quality of integrity. Similarly on a grander scale, Nelson Mandela, possesses such unexpected attributes. A staunch believer in the abolishment in white supremacy in South Africa, Mandela peacefully protested black rights. However the police were violent and he was imprisoned multiple times. Despite being in jail for 27 years as a result of white ruling he came out saying “We want change.

We want black South Africans and white South Africans to be equal. ” This shows that even though he was segregated for so long by white superiors who still wanted to help and transform the nation; displaying the qualities of being brave, not giving up, and selflessness. In this way conflict can be seen as an element of social change as it brings an all-round development in the life of an individual as well as society. It acts as a cementing factor to the establishment of relationships and it leads and helps to enlarge movement and opinion; seen through Mandela’s efforts in the equality of South Africans despite colour.

Unfortunately, however, there are also individuals who during conflict express some negative and surprising traits. The basis of conflict lies in emotion. Due to the emotional character of individuals we tend to get involved in conflict using not only fair but unfair means to attain the end. During the film of The Sapphires there is tension and bad blood between Gail and Kay. Amidst the success of the girls singing in Vietnam, tempers fume and boil over as Gail questions Kay “Are you black now or are you white? ” who then responds “I know what I am”.

Kay punches Gail who similarly reciprocates the gesture in the external conflict between the two girls and the internal conflict of Kay – what race she is. Both girls demonstrate ugly traits unexpected in their conflict, showing that disputes can sometimes reveal weaknesses in the individual. This can also be seen in the individual Seung-Hui Cho. Similarly Seung-Hui Cho shows unexpected failings during conflict. When a situation is perceived as a threat, our bodies instinctively prepare us to either stay and fight or run away.

A person can go through most of their life without encountering a conflict large enough to bring out these qualities, so when one does arise, these qualities can be seen to be unexpected. A perfect example of this is The Virginian Tech Massacre. Seung-Hui Cho killed 32 people and then himself in the worst mass shooting in U. S history. The attack was seen as completely unexpected, as he was perceived as a quiet unassuming boy. It was later revealed, however, that he had been bullied by fellow students and mocked for his shyness and for the way he spoke.

The conflict he faced every day through constant taunting leads him to act in an appalling and horrific way. There is no general response for individuals when it comes to conflict. Everyone responds differently and therefore express different positive qualities or negative traits. When conflict arises there are individuals who reveal qualities previously unseen that benefit themselves and usually others. There are also those who reveal undesirable attributes that strain and disconnect relationships. Ultimately, we will never how an individual will respond to conflict until challenged.


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