When you are turning a book into a screenplay you need to look at two aspects the main character or characters and the main conflict. When the project was brought up I was unsure on which topic to touch on because they are both interesting topics to talk about and you can really get in-depth in these topics. For starters, the topic of the main character is so crucial without Lionel Essrog there’s no book, story or movie he is the pillar to Motherless Brooklyn but on the other hand conflict is the meat of your story without a conflict movies or books tend to be boring which in this case, Lionel Esserog battles with the inner and main conflict in the story which is very crucial when talking about the main conflict of the story. After thinking about the direction I want to peruse my essay I’ve decided to talk about “the major core conflict of the story and why or how this occurs. This should include the narrator’s inner conflict”. It was a tough decision to make because I know how important Lionel is to the story but I find there’s so much to talk about when we’re discussing the main conflict as well as Lionel’s inner conflict. The main conflict of the book is Lionel trying to find Frank Minna’s killer this becomes very obvious to the reader but when we’re talking about Lionel’s inner conflict it starts to get tricky. This part of the question is really up for discussion is his inner conflict with himself? Finding love? His Tourette’s? His brothers? Etc. In my opinion I think they all kind of connect with each other and I haven’t decided yet which one I will use to focus on but if I had to choose one has of now I would say his inner conflict with himself, self vs. self.
On page 219 where Lionel is talking to himself before getting intimate with Kimmery “the distance between me and me was enormous” what Lionel means by this is he’s still trying to find himself but I think by finding Frank’s killer and narrating the story, he’s slowly but surely closing the cap. This quote can be used when discussing Lionel’s inner conflict and I think this has more to do with Lionel Vs. Lionel.
On page 186 when Lionel and Tony are stood up by Detective Seminole “Someday I’d change my name to Shut Up and save everybody a lot of time” Lionel realizes that no one takes him seriously and is getting tired of it. Finding Frank’s killers isn’t only about avenging Frank’s death it’s about Lionel proving to himself that he can start and finish something on his own without hiding in the Minna Men or Frank’s shadows. This quote can also be used when discussing Lionel’s inner conflict. It shows Lionel’s frustration that people look at him as the “other” because of his Tourette’s.
On page 143 when Kimmery takes Lionel upstairs for some tea and Oreos “I felt a thrill at being taken so seriously. This making the rounds without Gilbert could get to be a habit. For once I was playing lead Detective instead of comic-or Tourettic-relief”. This is the first time Lionel feels important and he is starting to embrace it usually when Frank was alive, Lionel would be always kept out of the dirty work and mostly kept around for his Tourettic outburst which would make Frank and the other Minna men laugh. At this part of the story the other Minna men are nowhere to be found or in jail which leaves only Lionel left to avenge Frank’s death he is completely alone on the case but sees it as an opportunity to prove everyone wrong and show his truth worth. I will use this quote when discussing the main conflict of the story.
On page 132 Lionel is waking up accepting the fact that Frank is dead “I was Minna’s successor and avenger that the city shone with clues. It seemed possible I was a detective on a case”. This is when Lionel comes to realization that he is the man that will avenge Frank’s death and this is the commencement of the major conflict in the story. This informed the reader that Lionel was ready to take on a bigger role and figure out who killed his boss. This is also Lionel’s first step into becoming more like Frank Minna. I will use this quote when discussing the main conflict of the story.
On page 310 Lionel is reflecting on the solved case of Frank Minna and Tony’s death “the Minna brothers are a part of me deep in my grain, deeper than mere behavior, deeper even in regret, Frank because he gave me my life and Gerard because, though I hardly knew him, I took his away”. This line really showed what Lionel thought about the Minna brothers and Frank and that was that he truly cared for them. It was never about bringing in the killer for justice it was about avenging someone you deeply respected and cared for, Frank was like a father to Lionel and the other orphans were his brothers he just did would any other normal human being would of done if someone were to hurt their family. I would want to use this quote for Lionel’s inner conflict because he was always trying to getr acceptance from Frank and the Minna brothers so I think this when he starts to feel kind of relieved about the whole situation because he now knows Frank can now rest in peace.
On page 311 Lionel is still reflecting on Frank and Tony’s death “The ghosts I felt sorriest for weren’t the dead ones. I’d imagined Frank and Tony were mine to protect, but I’d been wrong. I knew it now”. Lionel’s goal throughout the whole book was to avenge Frank’s death but eventually realized that in a way he deserved what was coming to him, for that matter even Tony. They were both involved in crooked business and the result is always similar when you aren’t doing things the proper way. Even though Lionel would never admit it because they were sort of his family deep down he knew that their deaths were deserved. I will use this quote to talk about the main conflict of the story because this is kind of the resolution to the conflict and Lionel’s understanding to why thing panned out in those ways.
Page 302-303 when Lionel and Julia are having their standoff and Lionel starts to throw things into the ocean. “One I counted… But who’s counting”. This is a pretty long passage in the book to use as a quote but it brings a significant amount of symbolism. I find every object he throws in the ocean has importance, Tony’s and Julia’s gun for me signifies that the fight is over and everyone should return to their lives, Minna’s beeper and the cell phone signified that he doesn’t need help or have to answer to anybody anymore because he solved the case and Frank can now rest in peace, finally his right shoe signified what he was going through the whole novel and that is his Tourette syndrome, he realized himself that it was pointless but he had no choice to throw a fifth object into the ocean. I will use this quote in explaining the main conflict because I find all these objects have something related to the conflict and I could really get something good out of this passage if I explain it in depth.
Page 309 when Kimmery finally decides to meet with Lionel again “I’m moving back in with Stephen… You know — a thing”. This completely destroys Lionel because he honestly thought him and Kimmery could have been something serious but as we can see Kimmery doesn’t feel the same way about Lionel. I will use this quote when discussing the inner conflict because finding love is one of the things Lionel struggles with throughout the book and I think I can relate it ultimately to self vs. self.
I have pretty good ideas and I find my quotes are pretty good to support the general question which is “what the major core conflict of the story is and why or how this occurs. This should include the narrator’s inner conflict”. I have an idea of my thesis for this essay but I’m still not sold on it. I’m confident it will come to me, I will look for some feedback from my peers and I think this upcoming week of class should help me solidify the direction I want to go in.
Lethem, Jonathan. Motherless Brooklyn. Vintage Books, 1999