What Is the Problem? Exploring Conflict in "On the Sidewalk Bleeding"
- Grades: 9–12
- Identify the four types of literary conflicts.
- Analyze brief texts in order to differentiate between literary conflicts.
- Advance to Slide 2 of the PowerPoint presentation and have students complete the warm-up activity. If you do not have access to a projector, post this question and the following passage from "On the Sidewalk Bleeding" on chart paper:
- Q: With whom or what is the main character having a conflict?
- “Will tightly pulled the strings on the hood of his three quarter length Sean Jean coat. He had already zipped his skull-faced LRG hoodie fully over his head, but that didn’t seem to be working. The cold air seemed to rip completely through all of his clothing. Just at that moment, Will noticed the girl of his dreams walking toward him. Unfortunately, as Will walked briskly down the street, he slipped on a sheet of ice and fell flat on his back.”
- Advance to Slide 3. Introduce and explain the four types of literary conflict.
- Man vs. Nature – main character(s) encounters struggle with a force of nature.
- Man vs. Man – main character(s) encounters struggle with another character.
- Man vs. Society – main character(s) encounters struggle with the laws or beliefs of a group.
- Man vs. Self – main character(s) encounters struggle with deciding what to do or think.
- Advance to Slide 4. Guide students as they practice identifying the conflict type of each excerpt.
- Advance to Slide 5. Hand out a copy of "On the Sidewalk Bleeding" to each student. Conduct a read aloud of the text stopping to check for student understanding at different points throughout the story.
- Advance to Slide 6 or post the following questions for students:
- Which conflict type is most prominent in the short story "On the Sidewalk Bleeding"?
- In your own words, explain, using textual details, why you selected that conflict type.
- Students work in partnerships to complete respond to the questions.
Supporting All Learners
Student partnerships afford support to your struggling learners.
- Ask students to compile a list of their top five books of all time. Then ask students to identify the most evident conflict type in each book listed. Students will share their findings with the class. If students listed the same book, but identified different conflict types, ask students to explain why their choice is correct.
- Separate students into small groups and have each group act out a different scene from "On the Sidewalk Bleeding." Each group must select a narrator. Three suggested performance scenes include:
- Freddie and Angela finding and reacting to Andy.
- Andy’s friend, Angela, finding him in the alley. This scene should include the cop’s reaction to Andy.
- The drunkard finding Andy.
Invite parents to view the student performances of scenes from "On the Sidewalk Bleeding."
Students complete exit slips (PDF) at the end of the lesson. Use these to determine how well each student grasped the content. Re-teach if necessary.
First, reflect on the ease at which students were able to identify the conflict types during the guided practice (step 2 of the directions above). Be sure to circulate the room and conduct informal assessments during the student partnership activity. Also, review student response to the questions above and check for understanding.