Conflicts

P4

Conflicts

Conflicts are important for all stories and conflicts are also a part of the refugee experience, as Sophia A. McClennen has pointed out in The Dialectics of Exile (2004, p. 64). Therefore I have planted different types of conflicts in The Escape to Myanmar. Some of these conflicts are internal, some interpersonal and some are external. Internal and interpersonal conflicts can often be more interesting than the external ones, so I have focused mainly on such conflicts in The Escape to Myanmar.

In the opening chapter the reader understands that the relationship between Lisa and Viktor is far from good, they have an interpersonal conflict. Both have changed because of the circumstances, but are unable to see it.

The flashbacks in the beginning of some of the chapters reveal the political (external) conflicts that are the reason for the exile to a foreign country. However, I have included relatively little war scenes in the story, because it has not been the kind of conflicts that I want to focus on.

In the refugees new home country Myanmar cultural clashes are a part of everyday life since the refugees have to live, dress and behave in a different way to what they are used to. These conflicts are also external, but actually more interesting than political conflicts, in my opinion. Some of the refugees experience larger problems with adaptation to the new, like Lisa, and some of them adapt faster and easier, like Viktor.

The adaptation problems that Lisa suffers are internal. In the first chapter of The Escape to Myanmar she remembers the hardship of the refugee camp, but still it is difficult for her to accept the new life in Myanmar.

According to Marita Eastmond, professor in social anthropology, the refugee experience is not same for all: “Thus, while transformation and change are part of the refugee experience, not all change is perceived as loss or defined as problematic or unwelcome by all individuals involved.” (‘Stories as Lived Experience: Narratives in Forced Migration Research’, Journal of Refugee Studies, Vol. 20, No. 2, 2007, p. 253).

Since different types of conflicts are part of exile situation, I have incorporated different types of conflicts in The Escape to Myanmar, because the purpose of this story was to portray the experience of exile.

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