By Khurshid Karim 10engH
What does it say about human nature and conflict?
The short story, 'The Block' by Mark O'Connor, explores human nature and conflict through the experiences of Gavin when he was a child. The short story portrays jealousy, competitive attitudes, possessiveness and arrogance which allows the readers to identify the consequences of conflict and how different values and opinions can lead to misunderstandings and even death.
Human nature is displayed through the use of literary components. The quote, "There seems to be something in my nature that makes me hate being defenceless", portrays Gavin as vulnerable and has a lack of authority. This is reinforced when Gavin and Michael are in a fight and Gavin states that "he was bigger and stronger than me, and I had to surrender – which is something I hate".
It can be interpreted as Michael looking down upon Gavin, which in society today, people who have power look down upon on the weak and underprivileged.
Pride can also be seen in the way Gavin and Michael interact with each other. They both seem alike, both wanting the same thing, control. Control of each other and over what’s happening.
Human nature can also be seen when Gavin attends the "funeral and smiled", which shows signs of no guilt nor remorse. This idea contradicts society's values because usually humans would feel guilt or be ashamed of their actions but in this case, Gavin shows pride in his work and a sense of strangeness and mentality.
O'Connor portrays the different types of conflict through the themes, jealousy and arrogance. The interpersonal conflict shared between Gavin and Michael was caused upon their disagreement of perspectives towards "the vacant block". Gavin saw the block as an escape from all the things he considered "boring" and "infuriating". He shared a 'special bond' towards this block and cherished it. The quote, "I think I might have turned into one of those delinquents you hear so much about, if God had not provided me with the Vacant Block", further reinforces the idea of Gavin's perspective towards the vacant block. However, Gavin's perspective contradicts with Michaels perspective towards the vacant block. Michael states that "I'll be riding my motorbike all over here soon", which sh...