What Is Man Vs. Himself in Literature?

Geraint Rowland/CC-BY 2.0

“Man versus self” is a form of internal literary conflict. A character with a self-conflict must overcome feelings of inadequacy or past failures to achieve a goal. Moral dilemmas are common examples of man-versus-self conflicts.

Self-doubt or negative self-talk often occur in man-versus-self conflicts. A literary character may doubt the potential for success in a game because of past failures in similar games. Overcoming the doubt and finding success creates the positive resolution that readers crave and expect. Man versus self is also common in the midst of other conflicts. A character may have to overcome the desire to give up on a long journey to persevere.