Professor S.K. Freuler
27 March 2011
Revenge, the concept of an eye for an eye, is the undeniable motto of war. But even in war, a man is only a man, and his conscience is still present. Frank O’Connor’s “Guests of a Nation,” is a test to the motto of war, and the model of what it stands for. However, with this test comes another, the test of companionship. Willing to listen and understand another man’s perspective, but not allowing it to alter a friendship. Overall this story is one of choice, duty, and morality, and how each could be a deciding factor for a man’s right to live.
Living in the same cottage, eating together, playing cards, and discussing views on life, it’s not too hard to see why the four soldiers, regardless of their differences, became friends. All except Donovan were open to the invitation of a friendship; he chose to follow his duty. Donovan was adamant about carrying out his role as guard and did not socialize with the other men. The motto of war, and the rules of engagement painted a vivid image in Donovan’s head, and he was determined to keep it that way. Staying loyal to his country, he believed that duty was how life was to be executed. Following what your duty is or what you’re expected to do is not always bad. As a matter of fact, it’ll help one organize his life, by doing what he is required to do to live. But when it comes to something ethical, one must choose between morality and duty.
On the other hand, the two Irish soldiers Noble and Bonaparte were intrigued by the thoughts of the two Englishmen, Belcher and Hawkins. The four men became companions, and chose to see past each other’s differences. These men preferred to compete with words or a game of cards instead the exchanging of gun fire. Here, a choice was made by these four men to live together as one and push their political differences aside. A choice is what one does when acting with the intentions of his own thoughts and his own
Cited: O’Connor, Flank. “Guest of the Nation.” The Seagull Reader: Stories. Ed. Joseph Kelly. 2nd ed. New York: W. W. Norton & Company. 2008. 389-401. Print