In the Shadow of War
War is a state that leaves a scar on the human race forever. It is not only a physical battle but an emotional one as well. In the short story, In the Shadow of War, the author Ben Okri, conveys the tale of a young boy and how his father tries to protect his innocence amidst the chaos going on around them. The story was set during what seemed to be the middle of World War II, in a small town where the reek of death was something that they were accustomed to.
Omovo, the main character of the story, is a young boy who is playful and curious to know what is going on around him. In the beginning of the story, his innocence is evident and as he follows the black lady into the forest and witnesses her murder and the dead bodies, he is hit with the true revulsion of what was going on around him. His father tried his best to protect Omovo by hiding the truth and making war seem as light as possible. But still, it didn't stop his prying. He's still a child, and he wanted to understand what was going on with the adults around him. Another character in the story is Omovo's father, who seemed employed yet the story didn't go into detail about his occupation. As mentioned, he tried to protect Omovo's innocence by not letting him listen to the radio or stay out too late, and by lying about the eclipse. It was apparent that he didn't want his son to see the harsh reality of human suffering. Imagery is used to describe the soldiers' behavior as being crude and manipulative. Words such as spit, veins and flies create an unpleasant mood towards the soldiers. They are openly paying the children and using them to carry out their dirty work e.g. following the mysterious lady in black who is supposedly a spy. Also they come across as being slightly incompetent as they are drinking on the job. Altogether they are not appealing characters. The woman in black is a provocative character as she may signify other meanings than just simply a spy. The...
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