Wars can either tear friends and family apart or bring them close together. In “The Sniper” by Liam O’Flaherty, the sniper faces a surprise after deciding to go look at the enemy sniper. In “Cranes” by Hwang Sunwon, Songsam takes Tokchae to get killed and towards the end, he frees Tokchae. The theme is the central idea or insight about life that a story reveals. The theme of “The Sniper” is that war separates families; the theme of “Cranes” is that war cannot tear friendships apart. These two themes have differences and similarities.
War cannot tear friendships apart is one of “Cranes’” theme. Towards the end of the story, Songsam ended up freeing his old friend, Tokchae, instead of escorting him to the place where he was supposed to get killed. “Having untied Tokchae’s hand, Songsam had already started crawling among the seeds… ‘Hey, how come you’re standing there like you’re dumb? Go flush the crane’” (Sunwon 227)! Even though they were on different sides of the war, Songsam still valued his friendship with Tokchae and kept him alive and set him free. Secondly, Songsam stops smoking cigarettes because of the flash back he had. “Then suddenly he thought that Tokchae too must want a puff. He thought of the days when they used to share dried gourd leaves behind walls, hidden from the adults” (Sunwon 224). Songsam could not share a puff with Tokchae because he remembered when they shared dried gourd leaves. It would have been awkward if he shared a cigarette with the enemy when he was going to escort Tokchae. Lastly, he remembered when Tokchae helped Songsam out when he was in trouble. “Songsam got chestnut needles all over his bottom… [H]e turned his bottom to Tokchae” (Sunwon 224). Tokchae did a nice thing to do and helped out a good friend and gave Songsam his chestnuts even though Songsam was supposed to give something back in return. At the end of the story, Songsam returned a favor and freed him. The theme of “The Sniper” is war can separate...
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