All stories are about a fight between life and death. Many knowing this on one level or another stick to stories in which this is taken literally. However as the old say goes "There are things worse than death." it is true because literal life and death is only one sphere of many. Depending upon a character (or persons) values life in one sphere can be worth the death in another, and so a story of a life and death struggle can be compelling without being literal in that sense.
The Personal Spheres:
The Physical Sphere
The basic needs of existence, Shelter, Food, Safety, Pain or Pleasure. Our Body our material needs.
Life: Life, Pleasure, Safety, creature comforts
Death: Death, Pain, Danger, Lack, discomfort
The Emotional Sphere
Our Feelings, Our Personal Sphere, Inner Dialogue
Life: Joy, Happiness, Contentment
Death: Depression, Sorrow, discontent
The Mental Sphere
Our need for closure. Our thirst for Knowledge and Understanding, Mystery, Truth,
Life: Closure, Learning, Solution, Exchange
Death: Darkness, Forgetting,
The InterPersonal Spheres:
The Social/Communion Sphere
Our need to be in communion with others. Our Family, Friends and Acquaintances. Anyone who we have made contact with. Corresponding Need: Communion, Acceptance
Life: Acceptance, Love, Unity, Expression
Death: Rejection, Hate, Isolation, Silence
The Cultural Sphere
Our need to have a place in this world and to be important.
Life: Status, Place, Security, Power
Death: Exile, Unimportant, Insecurity, Powerless
The Moral Sphere
Our Need for justice and environmental order. Religion, Faith, Our Moral Code Upheld, honor. Setting thing right
Life: Justice, Right-standing, boundaries
Death: Injustice, lack of boundaries, in the wrong
The TransPersonal Spheres:
The Time Sphere
Our needs to change. Growing up, Overcoming Circumstances, Change, Moving from one place to another.
Life: Progression, Change for better, Forward movement, Healing, Expansion
Death: Stagnation, Change for worse, Regression, Decay, implosion
The Dream Sphere
Our Dreams, Aspirations, Fulfillment. Purpose,
Life: Fulfillment, Meaning, Purpose
Death: Meaninglessness, Emptiness, purposeless
The Spiritual Sphere
Our need to be alive as spiritual beings and to be connected to the spiritual realm. Spiritual warfare and gifting.
Life: Faith, Trust, Belief
Death: Fear, Rebellion, Unbelief