The conflict of the story is that Joseph, the new student to a school in Ireland, is not being accepted by his new classmates. The main cause of this is partly due to racial discrimination of the boys in Ireland, and also partly because Joseph’s strange personality formed by his painful experiences in Africa – his dad being brought away from him (and probably shot_. The audience are being encouraged to sympathize Joseph, as most of the scenes are shown from his point of view – being bullied by Seth, the boy sitting behind him, being splashed with water, pulling Seth’s finger out of anxiety… The personality of Joseph is also portrayed by this series of events, showing him as the weaker one in front of his classmates and teachers. Thus, the characterization of Joseph and his situation in his new school draw sympathy from the audience.
As the audience go deeper into the story, they might be interpreting the possible resolutions to the conflict in the story. With Joseph being the weaker one and some people that actually saw the truth of the boys bullying Joseph, for example the girls, a possible resolution might be the girls standing up for Joseph, explaining to the teacher about what happened, and Joseph being finally accepted in the new school. As the audience start to know more about the story, the past stories of Joseph, what happened to him and his father, they will have a better understanding of what caused Joseph’s personality, which is also a significant cause of the conflict of the story. Joseph’s story makes the audience to think that the story cannot be resolved easily, it won’t do anything even if Joseph’s teacher and classmates accept him without he himself opening up his heart, overcoming the barrier that thwarts him from socializing. With more understanding to the cause of the conflict, we sympathize Joseph even more.
The resolution was given at the end of the story. The girl, Hazel, who saw everything that happened to Joseph, is trying to tell the teacher the truth. However, the teacher is being a bit overly strict, resulting in Hazel unable to say anything. Hazel then curses the teacher, causing the teacher to be really upset. Both Chris and Seth laugh at the girl, and as it is really funny, Joseph laughs. He starts to remember his past lessons with his dad, laughing with his classmates together, all those happy memories. He finally walks out from the shadow of his dad’s death and becomes more willing to accept his new life. The story ends here, but for me, it isn’t a very good resolution. Joseph will not stop feeling sad for his dad just by a few jokes told by his classmates. Racial discrimination will not disappear even though Joseph makes a few friends. As a result, the conflict is resolved unsatisfactorily, provoking the audience into consideration of concerns in the reality. There are people in the world being killed while they have done nothing wrong. There are people young and old, being discriminated just because of their skin color. These are some of the deeper meaning that are shown in the film.