War is presented as having both a damaging and reparative impact on relationships. With reference to ‘The Song of Achilles’ and ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’, to what extent do you agree with this view? Introduction here.
One could initially argue that Miller utilises the first person narration of Patroclus in The Song of Achilles, to create a romanticised narrative of the relationship between him and “god-born […] soft as the delicate of velvet petals […] golden haired” Achilles. This provides for an interesting contrast in the latter half of the book, wherein Miller constructs Patroclus’ first person narrative to become stoic and disengaged with a “war-torn” and “bloody” Achilles. Thus, it can be suggested that the Trojan War has caused Patroclus to become disillusioned with his relationship with Achilles. He has arguably become more aware of the violence and ferocity that dominates Achilles, which Miller makes evident when Patroclus claims him a “[Achilles] is a weapon, a killer”. Minkowich’s 1 theory supports this argument, arguing that “Miller’s use of Patroclus as the narrator […] explores Achilles less as a hero and more as an isolated misfit”. The idea of Achilles being an “isolated misfit” from Patroclus’point of view becomes more prevalent in the novel as the war rages on. Patroclus still hangs to the faint romanticised image of “soft-skinned” Achilles, yet Patroclus “cannot escape the feeling that, below the surface, something is breaking”. Thereby, Miller could be showing the romantic and “near-normative existence as a monogamous couple”1 between the men becoming fractured by Achilles’ “blood-lust” in battle. The war has most arguably changed Achilles and consequently made Patroclus shameful of his actions. Some may claim that Miller’s first person narration can be compared against the third person narration Adichie uses in Half of a Yellow Sun. Adichie opts for the third person narrative to depict the bliss of romance deconstructing itself as war...
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