In this essay I intend to discuss classical narrative, and how the Oscar award winning writer Steve Tesich uses conflict to develop the narrative in his semi-biographical screenplay, "Breaking Away". To do this I will look at what makes up a classical narrative, and how character traits and different points of view drive the narrative through cause and effect, and bring the plot to a pleasing resolution.
Breaking away is the coming-of-age story of four friends trying to figure out what to do with their lives after graduating from high school. Raised together in the working class quarry town of Bloomington, Indiana, the four boys consider themselves to be "Cutters", proud of their father's heritage as limestone workers in the once prosperous factory town. Unfortunately, there seems to be no future for the boys as Cutters, and not one of them has plans for college. Mike (Dennis Quaid) is no longer the star quarterback, Moocher (Jackie Earl Haley) cant decide to marry or break up with this girlfriend, and quick-witted Cyril (Daniel Stern) can no longer play the class clown, they have no idea what to do with themselves. Luckily, avid cyclist Dave (Dennis Christopher) knows exactly what he wants. He aspires to be one of the world's best bicyclists. There's only one obstacle: The leading racers are Italian, and Dave is not. A romantic dreamer, he races around his hometown, singing opera, speaking in an Italian accent, and stumping his parents with his newfangled Italian ways. When his affair with Katherine (an Italian exchange student) evokes jealousy from a few big boys on campus, Dave decides that a bike race is the only way to settle the dispute and prove the Cutters worth.
Conflict plays a vital role in Breaking Away. I believe this conflict is created through Tesich's wide spectrum of characters. Tesich creates a character, for example Mike, and then creates another that is the complete opposite: Mike's older brother the Police Officer.