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"Guests of the Nation" is a short story written by Frank O'Connor, first published in 1931, portraying the execution of two Englishmen held captive by the Irish Republican Army during the War for Independence. The story is split into four sections, each section taking a different tone. The first reveals a real sense of camaraderie between the English prisoners, with the two Englishmen being killed, and the final lines of the story describe the nauseating effect this betrayal has on the Irishmen. The very last sentence, often praised by critics, is reminiscent of Gogol's "and from that day forward, everything appeared to me as if in a different light." Characters 
The Old Woman
• Guests Of The Nation is an ironic/sarcastic description of British Army hostages seized in the Irish war of Independence by Irish freedom fighters • A hostage is victim of aggression in a brutal dispute between warring factions • Belcher: Belcher is a big Englishman who is one of the hostages, he was the quieter of the two who ingratiated himself with the old woman of the house by helping her with her daily chores. Belcher had made her his friend for life. Belcher on realising his fate seemed to accept it as “whatever unforced seen thing he’d always been waiting for had come at last”. His sense organisation sees him preparing his own blindfold for his execution. His courage and generosity sees him request of his executioners that they finish off Hawkins first before he meets his own fate. This is further demonstrated in Belchers acknowledging to his executioners that they are only doing their duty. Belchers whole character and personality is found in his last statement. His Mrs had left eight years before “want away with another fellow and took the kid with her. I like the feeling of a home, as you may have noticed, but I couldn’t start another again after that”. •...