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Two kinds of conflict in the story “Top man”, by James Ramsey Ullman.


What about it?

“Top Man” is a short story written by James Ramsey Ullman about conquering the mountain Kalpurtha (K3) in India. There are two conflicts discussed in “Top Man.” The first is the conflict between man and man, and the second is the conflict between man and nature. The entire story revolves around those two conflicts.

The summiting group consisted of eight members and their porters. But the story revolves mainly around Osborn and Nace. The narrator is also a member of it , and he provided evidences for the story. Osborn was a 23-year-old man, full of energy and spirit. Nace, who was in his forties, was silent and thoughtful man.

Reasons for the conflict.

In the beginning, when they first saw the K3, it was their determination to conquer it. It was so beautifully viewed. They gradually ascended, but always there was  friction with Osborn and Nace. As a result, there was a conflict between man and man. The main reason for this could be a personality issue, because Osborn was talkative, enthusiastic, and full of spirit, whereas Nace was silent and had prior experience attempting to climb this peak.

The named group leader always asked for Nace’s opinions on the climbing, and Nace’s opinions were not acceptable to Osborn. He wanted to be quick, so he always looked for shortcuts. Nace was always concerned about the group’s safety, and he refused to agree to hasty decisions that could be dangerous. As a result, there was a  conflict arose.

It is not any easier to climb a snow-covered mountain. There were thin ice sheets that appear as strong and there were snow storms too. The ice’s strength varied from time to time and location to location. Climbers must therefore have extensive knowledge and experience in this field. Climbers must practice for several weeks or months before adopting it. As the climate changes, so does the need to adapt. This entire situation has the potential to distract some people’s minds. Every climber must train for weeks for this. This is the conflict between man and nature.

It arises, the conflict.

Conflict is compulsory for a story. Otherwise there would be no story. First, the narrator informs readers about Osborn and Nace’s individual perspectives. When the narrator said, “But he (Nace) seems certain it will be much easier for us,” Osborn replied, “He means easier for him.” This demonstrates that Osborn makes rash decisions. His youth and spirit caused him to see only the surface of the situation, and when others, who see more inside and the truth, and make decisions, he cannot accept them. This is the source of the conflict. The conversation between the narrator and Nace demonstrates this. He(Nace) shows the narrator how he was right.

There are so many other things to do besides climb. They must establish camps, store supplies, and research the best and safest climbing routes. All of these are preparations for victory over nature. Nature, on the other hand, is unpredictable. When they were about to begin climbing, a high Himalayan storm erupted, complete with lightning and heavy snowfall. There was the risk of being buried alive or being blown into eternity. They had to spend more time after the storm to regain their energy. This is the battle with nature. It is difficult to stand with, but one must strive for the best.

Again and again conflicts.

As a result of their lateness, Osborn became impatient and desired to begin climbing as soon as possible. But, despite the fact that it was no longer safe, Nace was forced to stay for another few days. Once again, conflict arises. “Do you ever think of anything other than waiting?” Osborn told Nace. But the author gives a reason for Nace’s actions to be more protective in this book. “Nace said, “That’s what Furness assumed.”

Conflicts with nature are not only the obstacles clearly appeared for us. Acting with nature can be a challenge at times. But, with quick decisions and good leadership, we can sometimes overcome them. “then I heard Nace shout, “Jump”.” That was a life-or-death situation. If one fell, there was a five thousand foot drop on either side of the mountain. The author is attempting to say something through this incident. A great leader and his encouragements can give you the strength you need to fight with anything or anyone.

Results, sometimes it can be worse.

When we take action on a task, we must be strong enough to face challenges. Again there was a  swirling sweeping wind  with snow storms. So after that, conflict between men arises. Nace wanted to go to down camp for supplies while Osborn wanted to go up along. There was no obedience in Osborn on Nace’s advice. Osborn began to rise. Nace was having a conflict with himself as well. He’d had a similar experience before. This cost him the life of a friend. As a result, he (Nace) attempted to stop Osborn. But he failed.

He didn’t want to lose any more friends. So as the story narrator and Nace fallowed him. They both saw the danger and shouted at him (Osborn), but Osborn didn’t realize he was in danger. “” come back.” Nace shouted. “Get out of the snow.” “. Osborn did not see, but he did stand on a thin sheet of ice. In Nace’s words,” There’s nothing underneath!”.

It was the most critical conflict. In there two conflicts acted together. So it was being a crucial moment. The narrator and Nace tried to rescue Osborn. Nace reached to Osborn and made him suit to Jump down. They jumped. Osborn landed in the snow. Nace lost his grip and simply disappeared through snow. There was no more snow sheet there. The rope was broken and spun on the space. But there Nace won one conflict. This time he(Nace) did not let nature to defeat him. He rescued his friend.

Narrator and Osborn staid there for hours. The two kinds of conflicts resolved. There is a end to every thing. It was fair for the conflicts too. When resolving it, there was no more choices. Narrator stayed there and Osborn started to go up. He came back from hours and both of them went down safely. This attempt was taken as a failure.

Some conflicts change someone for good.

But at last Osborn had won his own conflict. Another group conquer K3 successfully. But at the top they found that they were not the first who conquer it. On the top there was a axe. On it, there were words ” To Martin from John”. This was Nace’s axe.



















Gandhari Ayodhya

Gandhari Ayodhya

Student of NENASALA . Student of university of Colombo. After A/L student of Yasodara Devi Balika Maha Vidyalaya . Interesting in English & Science.

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