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What Is the Central Problem or Conflict in the Story "The Ghost of the Lagoon"?


"The Ghost of the Lagoon" is a children's short story by Armstrong Sperry that takes place in the South Pacific on the volcanic island of Bora Bora. The protagonist is a young boy named Mako whose grandfather tells him the story of the "ghost of the lagoon," a terrifying and hungry mythological beast called Tupa that allegedly killed Mako's own father. One night in a canoe with his dog, Mako confronts the very real dangers lurking behind the myth. The conflict ensues when Mako comes face to face with the deadly Tupa -- actually a white shark -- and must save his dog Afa from imminent danger.

Internal Conflict

Before meeting the shark head-on, Mako must overcome an internal dispute involving his mother, who has warned him against confronting Tupa, fearing he will meet the same fate as his father. He also has to consider whether or not he feels brave and strong enough to go up against the shark.

The Story's Resolution

The internal dilemma Mako faces dissolves once his beloved dog Afa jumps into the water and swims toward shore. Though he is frightened, his loyalty to the dog outweighs the fear. Mako summons all internal resolve and spears the shark directly in the eye. The shark struggles and jerks about violently, but Mako finally prevails. He returns home after drawing on a level of bravery he did not know he possessed.

About the Author

Christina Lee began writing in 2004. Her co-authored essay is included in the edited volume, "Discipline and Punishment in Global Affairs." Lee holds a Bachelor of Arts in English and politics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, a Master of Arts in global affairs from American University and a Master of Arts in philosophy from Penn State University.

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