What’s an internal conflict in “Dear Martin”?

Updated 21 March, 2023
In "Dear Martin," the main character, Justyce, struggles with an internal conflict throughout the novel. He is caught between his two identities as a black teenager and a promising Ivy League student, and this creates a lot of tension and confusion for him. Justyce grapples with the idea of who he is, who he wants to be, and how he should act in response to the injustices he faces. His internal conflict becomes particularly pronounced after he is wrongly arrested and his faith in the justice system is shaken. He begins to question his own identity and the world around him, leading to a deep internal struggle.
Detailed answer:

An internal conflict in "Dear Martin" revolves around the main character, Justyce, and his struggle with his identity. Justyce is a black teenager who has managed to gain admission to an Ivy League school, and this creates tension for him as he is caught between two different worlds. He is constantly grappling with the question of who he is, what he stands for, and how he should respond to the injustices he faces as a black man in America.

This internal conflict is particularly highlighted after Justyce is wrongfully arrested by a police officer. He struggles with the idea that he did everything right - he stayed out of trouble, worked hard in school, and followed the rules - yet he was still treated unfairly. He begins to question whether his identity as an Ivy League student has shielded him from the harsh realities of racism in America. This internal conflict is further complicated by his growing relationship with his white classmate, Sarah-Jane.

Throughout the novel, Justyce's internal conflict is shown through his journal entries, in which he questions his identity and his place in the world. For example, he writes: "What am I supposed to do when the people who are supposed to protect me are the ones hurting me?... Am I really different because I go to an Ivy League school?... What if all the effort I'm putting into changing myself is for nothing?" These questions reveal the depth of his internal struggle and how it affects every aspect of his life.

Overall, the internal conflict in "Dear Martin" is an essential part of the novel's exploration of identity, racism, and justice. Through Justyce's struggle, the book shows how complex and challenging it can be for individuals to navigate the competing demands of different parts of their identity, and how they can use their experiences to fight for change.

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