War by Luigi Pirandello

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War tears countries apart, it tears families apart, but more importantly it tears one apart. The struggle the family of those in war faces is brought forth in the short story War by Luigi Pirandello. The author uses characterization to tell his story. The small restricted setting in which the passengers sit enables them to share stories and their experiences. They each have been affected by the war. Each has a son or more fighting for their country. They all face denial– the denial to accept what is actually going on and having little control over it. They cannot control the war and they cannot accept that their sons might die or have died. It is in human nature to deny the truth, to deny what hurts us, or what breaks us. We sometimes create a bubble around us that keeps the bitter truth out and lets us live peacefully, until the bubble pops. The relationship between the characters brings each one back to reality and leaves them face to face with the truth they had been avoiding.

The story starts with the introduction of the man and woman who are on their way to see their son off. The war has just separated them from their only son, a boy for “whom both had devoted their entire life,” the woman is described to be already in mourning is unable to accept the reality around her (Pirandello, 80). The man’s face is “death-white” as he rushes into the compartment, he explains to his fellow passengers about their loss to gain their sympathies only to discover that they also are in the same situation (80). Even in a grievous scenario like this the passengers try to best each other. They are all suffering; one man has had his son injured multiple times who has been on the front since the war started whereas another has both of his sons at the front.
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