On the Sidewalk Bleeding Essay

636 Words 3 Pages
Conflict is an important part of any short story. The short story, “On the Sidewalk Bleeding,” contains three major conflicts: man vs. man, man vs. nature, and man vs. himself. In this essay, I intend to explain, prove, and analyze these three struggles.

     The most obvious and simplest struggle in “On the Sidewalk Bleeding” is man vs. man. “He [Andy] had been stabbed ten minutes ago. The knife had entered just below his rib cage and had been drawn across his body violently, tearing a wide gap in his flesh.” This line describes the physical conflicts in “On the Sidewalk Bleeding.” Andy’s struggle with the Guardians involves several fights and rumbles in the past, and is typical of most youth gangs today. At
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If all these negative situations were reversed, one would argue that Andy might have survived.

     The final and most important conflict in “On the Sidewalk Bleeding” is man vs. himself. At the start of the story, Andy is in complete denial. “I can’t be dying. No, that’s stupid. That doesn’t make any sense at all.” He still thinks he’s going to go to the convenience store, back to the dance, apologize to Laura for being so late, and smoke a cigarette outside with his buddies. However, as time goes on, as the signs in his body tell him that he is, in fact, dying, he chooses to accept it, and feels no fear. Instead, he feels a sort of detached regret, a sad wish to have done more in his short life. Lying on the pavement in the rain, Andy muses over his past decisions and the decisions of others. “And he wondered suddenly if the Guardians who had ambushed him and knifed him had ever once realized he was Andy.” In the last few minutes of his life, Andy realizes that there is no pride in being a Royal, a part of a gang. The title and the jacket mean absolutely nothing, and are merely a covering to disguise him, to make him seem like a faceless Royal to other faceless Guardians. He now sees the jacket--what he once thought of as a symbol of acceptance--as a physical reminder that he literally gave his life away to be part of a group.

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