This movie not only deals with internal and external conflict but also deals with the thing that makes a man a man forgiveness and acceptance. It shows that Although there are differences between you and someone else you don’t have to let that define you relationship with that person. In the story we are shown the every day life of a Quaker family where they have all taken up an oath not to raise a hand against another man. The family is presented with several tests of faith if you will.
When the family goes to the fair all of the family members are confronted with some emptation the question is whether or not they will cave in and do as there id commands them. They all of them fail to stand up to their temptations. The most important of the trail is that of Joshua , where he is challenged to a wrestling match that he believes is harmless enough as the match progresses Joshua pens the man but notices that the man is in pain and releases him.
Realizing that he had gone to far Joshua and his friend leave. Joshua believed that a friendly match was not harming thy neighbor but when he realized that he was hurting the man he knew that he taken it to far. This would become a redundant theme of the story , that you do what you have to do but you don’t take it any farther than that. This element will re-appear when Jess is confronted by a confederate bushwhacker , who kills his friend.
Once Jess un arms him and he is no longer a threat he lets him go , which is not what the average man would do , this shows that when in a situation you only do what you need to do to get out of it and no more than that. This concept is most evident when Jess goes to make sure that Joshua is okay after the battle with the confederates and Joshua is upset because he killed a small boy. His father tells him The did what the had to do. Meaning that the person that he killed would have killed him so he had no other choice but to kill him.
Throughout the entire movie we are presented with several struggles many of which seem to be trivial and unimportant but they to hold great insight into the meaning of the piece. One of the more redundant of the conflicts is the one between the goose and Lil’ Jess , where for no apparent reason they seem to have an ongoing feud which is quelled when Lil’ Jess helps him escape from the Confederate solider. Another main point of the movie is that people have the certain idealistic beliefs that you shouldn’t harm you neighbor , which would be perfectly fine if the world was perfect.
However the world is far from perfect , so even though these philosophies seem good in theory there is no way that one can possible expect to be able to exercise them in the real world. An example would be the old man who originally said that he wouldn’t kill one man to free another , but when his farm was burned he was ready and willing to fight and even kill. Notice how everything changes when that person is actively effected by. Its different in thought than in reality.
Also when The mothers pet goose is threatened she quickly abandons her belief in non-violence and nearly bludgeons the confederate to death with a broom. It is okay to have certain beliefs but when those beliefs supersede your ability as a human being on planet earth to live by them you are setting yourself up for failure. Friendly Persuasion deals with the main characteristics that makes us human ,division war and reconciliation. All people have had there conflicts or wars with something or someone whether it be parents or siblings conflict is one if the defining traits of humanity.
The key is to reconcile with your past transgressors , and that is what I believe the Friendly persuasion was attempting to display. Just as Joshua was divided from his mother , because he felt that it was necessary to fight so have many people has been divided but the key is to atone or mend the division just as Joshua did with his mother. This movie not only describes what make us human but also gave us a blueprint to improving our humaneness towards others .