Person vs Technology Conflict

Person vs. Technology Conflict

In a Person vs Technology or Machine conflict, a character has a problem with robots or machines. This type of conflict is often found in science fiction.

Check out the books and videos to use when teaching this skill.

Book Examples to use for Teaching Person vs Technology Conflict in Literature

Picture Books

  • The Legend of John Henry 
  • Comic Book – Iron Man
  • Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel


Children’s Literature

  • From Hatchet – Brian flying the airplane after the pilot dies
  • The City of Ember – Lina and Doon must find a way out of Ember before the generator dies and the city is in total darkness.
  • I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic, 1912
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox – The foxes must dig faster than Boggis, Beans, and Bunce on their tractors.

Teaching Person vs Technology Conflict in Literature with Movie Trailers

Steve Jobs

This biographical movie covers 14 years of the life of  Steve Jobs, personal computing innovator and Apple Inc. co-founder.



2001: A Space Odyssey

While on a mysterious mission, the ship’s computer system, HAL, begins to display strange behavior. This leads to a showdown between man and machine.



Dr. Will Caster, the world’s authority on artificial intelligence, develops a computer to upload himself into a computerized form as he dies.



Two races of robots, the Autobots and the Decepticons, bring their war to Earth. The good Autobots help Earthlings. The villainous Decepticons bring war. Only a human youth named Sam can save the world.




FREE Conflicts in Literature Organizer


Types of Conflicts Quiz

From Gary Paulsen’s book The Beet Fields

The sun was hot when it came up late. There was no early-morning coolness, no relief. An early heat came with the first edge of the sun and by the time the sun was full up, he was cooking and looking for some relief. He tried hoeing with his left hand low, then his right hand, then leaning forward more, then less, but nothing helped. It was hot, getting hotter, and he straightened and spit and resettled the straw hat he had bought in Grafton. It had a piece of green plastic in the brim that looked cool but wasn’t.

Which type of conflict is present in this reading?

Person vs. —

    1. Person
    2. Self
    3. Environment
    4. Technology

From Paul Bunyan

Once when the cook quit they had to hire a substitute for the job temporarily. There was one man who was no good anywhere. He had failed at every job. Chris Crosshaul, the foreman, acting on the theory that every man is good somewhere, figured that this guy must be a cook. It was the only job he had not tried. So he was put to work.

The first thing he tackled was beans. He filled up a big kettle with beans and added some water. When the heat took hold, the beans swelled up. They lifted off the roof and bulged out the walls. There was no way to get into the place to cook anything else, so the whole crew turned in to eat up the half-cooked beans. By keeping at it steady, they cleaned them up in a week. They could then rescue the would-be-cook. After that, no one seemed to care much for beans.

Which line from the passage best describes the conflict?

    1. He had failed at every job.
    2. The first thing he tackled was beans.
    3. When the heat took hold, the beans swelled up.
    4. By keeping at it steady, they cleaned them up in a week.

Teaching Conflict in Literature (Person vs. the Environment) Using Movie Trailers

Permanent link to this article: