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The Conflict   By: (1867-1911)

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David Graham Phillips weaves a powerful and thought-provoking tale in his novel, The Conflict. Set in the bustling metropolis of New York City, the story explores the intricacies of social and political dynamics that shape individuals' lives and their perceived inner conflicts.

The narrative follows the life of John Harrington, a principled and ambitious young lawyer, as he navigates the treacherous waters of corruption and inequality in early 20th-century America. From the murky underworld of politics to the glitz and glamour of high society, Phillips masterfully exposes the stark contrasts between those who hold power and those oppressed by it.

One of the book's defining strengths lies in its well-developed characters. Harrington, the protagonist, is portrayed with immense depth and complexity. As readers, we witness his internal struggle to maintain his ideals and integrity amidst a sea of deceit and manipulation. Phillips excels in crafting multidimensional characters, each uniquely affected by the corrupt society they inhabit.

The author's commitment to realism shines through his vivid descriptions of late 19th-century New York City. From the grandiose mansions of the upper class to the squalid tenements of the impoverished, the contrast not only paints a stark picture of societal divisions but also serves as a metaphorical backdrop for the broader conflict at play.

Phillips' prose is elegant and captivating, effortlessly drawing readers into this cunningly constructed world of power struggles and ethical dilemmas. His ability to seamlessly merge social commentary with a compelling narrative ensures that The Conflict resonates on a deeper level. The novel serves as both a gripping story and an incisive critique of society's flaws and human nature's inherent contradictions.

As the plot unfolds, Phillips deftly poses the question: Can one person truly make a lasting impact on a deeply entrenched system wrought with corruption? The answer remains elusive throughout the book, keeping readers engaged and contemplative until the final pages.

If there is any criticism to be offered, it would be the occasionally slow pacing in certain sections of the novel. However, this minor flaw does not detract significantly from the overall impact and relevance of the story.

In conclusion, The Conflict is a compelling exploration of the ethical battles fought within oneself and the broader societal conflicts they reflect. David Graham Phillips's insights into human nature and societal injustice are brilliantly portrayed, making this novel a must-read for anyone seeking both entertainment and enlightenment.

First Page:



David Graham Phillips


Four years at Wellesley; two years about equally divided among Paris, Dresden and Florence. And now Jane Hastings was at home again. At home in the unchanged house spacious, old fashioned looking down from its steeply sloping lawns and terraced gardens upon the sooty, smoky activities of Remsen City, looking out upon a charming panorama of hills and valleys in the heart of South Central Indiana. Six years of striving in the East and abroad to satisfy the restless energy she inherited from her father; and here she was, as restless as ever yet with everything done that a woman could do in the way of an active career. She looked back upon her years of elaborate preparation; she looked forward upon nothing. That is, nothing but marriage dropping her name, dropping her personality, disappearing in the personality of another. She had never seen a man for whom she would make such a sacrifice; she did not believe that such a man existed.

She meditated bitterly upon that cruel arrangement of Nature's whereby the father transmits his vigorous qualities in twofold measure to the daughter, not in order that she may be a somebody, but solely in order that she may transmit them to sons. "I don't believe it," she decided. "There's something for ME to do... Continue reading book >>

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