Small Things Nthikeng Mohlele Internal Conflict Essay

Literature often serves as a mirror to the human experience, reflecting the intricate web of emotions and conflicts that shape our lives. In Nthikeng Mohlele’s novel “Small Things,” the protagonist, Nthikeng, becomes the conduit through which the internal conflict of a generation is vividly portrayed. Set against the backdrop of Johannesburg, the narrative delves into Nthikeng’s internal turmoil, interwoven with themes of love, identity, and societal tensions during the Apartheid regime. This essay dissects the layers of Nthikeng’s internal conflict as it converges with broader themes, culminating in a poignant exploration of the human psyche.

Essay: Internal Turmoil and Societal Struggles in “Small Things” by Nthikeng Mohlele

of Hope, Love, and Identity

From the outset of the novel, Nthikeng’s internal conflict emerges as a central motif. The loss of hope, love, and a genuine sense of identity in his homeland, Johannesburg, serves as the crucible from which his turmoil arises. The urban landscape, once vibrant with potential, becomes a canvas of disillusionment. The vivid descriptions of Johannesburg’s transformation mirror Nthikeng’s own journey from optimism to despair. This discord between the external environment and his internal world generates a palpable dissonance, leading to a profound internal conflict.

Essay On Small Things Nthikeng Mohlele Internal Conflict

The Complexity of Love and Struggle

Chapter one serves as the inaugural battleground for Nthikeng’s internal conflict, as he navigates the intricate terrain of being in love and the struggles within himself. Love becomes both a source of solace and a trigger for inner discord. The thematic exploration of love encapsulates the turbulence of his emotional landscape, emblematic of the broader struggles within South Africa’s societal fabric. This duality of emotions parallels the duality of a nation torn between unity and division.

Class Stratification and Societal Tensions

The tapestry of Nthikeng’s internal conflict is intricately woven with threads of class stratification, a prominent theme in “Small Things.” The chasm between social classes, reminiscent of the broader socioeconomic disparities of Apartheid-era South Africa, exacerbates Nthikeng’s inner turmoil. The palpable contrast between his aspirations and his reality amplifies his internal conflict, mirroring the wider societal tensions that simmer beneath the surface.

A Microcosm of Societal Unrest

Nthikeng’s internal conflict serves as a microcosm of the broader societal upheaval during the Apartheid regime. His struggle to reconcile his dreams and his identity mirrors the nation’s struggle to reconcile its fractured identity in the face of segregation and discrimination. As he grapples with his internal demons, he simultaneously embodies the collective consciousness of a generation at odds with its past and uncertain about its future.

Loneliness as a Reflection of Internal Turmoil

The novel provocatively raises the question of whether Nthikeng’s chosen solitude is a consequence of his internal conflict or a manifestation of the segregative Apartheid regime. His isolation can be interpreted as a symbolic representation of the isolation felt by those entangled in the societal web of oppression. His existential loneliness becomes a canvas onto which the reader projects their understanding of the broader struggles for autonomy and identity.


In the evocative narrative of “Small Things” by Nthikeng Mohlele, the internal conflict of the narrator, Nthikeng, serves as a compelling exploration of the human psyche amidst the tumultuous backdrop of Apartheid-era South Africa. As Nthikeng grapples with the loss of hope, love, and identity, his struggle converges with themes of class stratification and societal tensions. The internal turmoil he experiences becomes emblematic of the broader challenges faced by a nation grappling with its past and searching for its place in an uncertain future. “Small Things” is more than a novel; it is a visceral depiction of the intricate interplay between individual turmoil and societal struggle.

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Essay On Small Triggers of a Troubled Mind

Our minds are delicate constructs that can be thrown off balance by even minor daily occurrences. While such inconsequential issues may outwardly seem irrelevant, they wield surprising influence over our mental well-being through disproportionate rumination. This essay will examine how small prompts in various areas of life mobilize intense distress far beyond their objective significance. It will argue that cultivating perspective helps downscale trivial triggers’ perceived impacts.

Daily Life Decisions

Making everyday choices presents potential for inner conflict. Banality haunts preferences around clothing, food, schedules and more. Within each petty decision lurks capacity for doubt and indecision. Am I selecting correctly? Will this meal be healthy enough? Thought spirals ponder alternatives, imagining judgment from straying from invisible social norms surrounding minutiae best left unlabored over. Time focussing minutiae would be better spent relaxing instead ofAGANIZED deliberating minutiae that should flow naturally.

Interpersonal Interactions

Relationships represent common minefields where fleeting social friction detonates unrest. Minor squabbles, passive aggression or broken commitments from others ferment ruminative questions twisting stomachs long after issues’ passage. Do they truly value me? Will this damage our bond? How can I regain favor? Scenes replay endlessly worsening issues’ perceived severity. More positive reframing would serve minds better than amplifying small interpersonal disharmonies into looming relationship catastrophes.

Health and Appearance

Subjective perceptions of attractiveness loom disproportionately large in fragile self-esteem. Minor weight fluctuations, new blemishes or ordinary aging signs trigger insecure spirals condemning transient imperfections. Most acknowledge bodies change, yet conditional acceptance of self remains elusive for some. Conscious redirection is needed recalibrating perceptions seeing natural fluctuations instead of supposed character defects. However, negative thought patterns ensnare tenaciously through learned habit.

Work and Productivity

Productivity hinges on focus persisting through minor issues. However, tiny errors ignite cascades of self-criticism for fragile self-confidence. A deadline extension or casual social friction sparks obsessive thinking jeopardizing livelihood and respect. Hypothetical worst-case projections proliferate unproductively better curtailed through compassionate self-talk. Forgiving stance towards humanness replaces severity counterproductive for well-being and motivation.

Intrusive Thought Patterns

Perhaps most perturbing, thoughts themselves trigger disproportionate distress. Fragile minds recall slight memories and slights endlessly. From minutiae emerge worst-case scenarios priming anxiety. Why dwell on something inconsequential? Breaking cycles demands vigilance intercepting thought deviations cueing distress. With practice, minor triggers lose power mobilizing obsession and mental anguish.


In summary, mental health associates delicately with common, trivial daily events. Numerous interdependent influence points render rumination prone to small prompts. Developing perspective to properly scale issues’ objective severity versus perceived impacts promotes inner balance. Catching disproportionate thought patterns cultivates disengaging from rumination fueled by innocuous triggers. Minor stressors lose potency toppling inner peace with recalibration.

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