“Guests of the Nation” by Frank O’Connor
“Guests of the Nation” is a story that takes place in Ireland during The War of Independence. It’s about a friendship between three Irish men and two English men. The three Irish men, Bonaparte, Noble and Jeremiah are holding the two Englishmen Belcher and Hawkins as hostages. During that time a bond of friendship begins to grow which is very unusual giving the situation they are in. They play cards together, joke with each other and they even discuss as friends but because of the situation Bonaparte, Noble and Jeremiah are put in a very difficult position. They are told that some English people shot some Irish men and now they’ll have to do the same to Belcher and Hawkins. In the end Bonaparte and Jeremiah shoots Belcher and Hawkins. It’s a very uncomfortable situation and a terrible thing they have to do. The themes in the story could be friendship under difficult circumstances. Another one could be pride and what a war does to you. Bonaparte says in the end that he was never the same again after shooting two of his friends. A war changes you very much because of all the terrible things that happen. Another theme in the story is duty because Bonaparte and Jeremiah have to shoot their friends out of the duty for their country. When they try to explain to Belcher that it’s only out of duty that they’re killing them he says that he could never make out what duty was. On one hand you have a duty for your country but you have duty for your friends as well. In this situation the duty for their country comes first because its war and they know that they’ll never wind it if they make friends with their enemies. The title of the story, “Guests of the Nation” is a symbol of the Englishmen who are guests of the Irish nation. The story takes place during the War of Independence and because of that Ireland is still a part of Britain. Ireland wanted their independence from England so they started a war because England wouldn’t...
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