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Luigi Pirandello War

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Luigi Pirandello War

“War,” written by Luigi Pirandello, is a short story focusing on the tragic repercussions that World War I had on thousands of families. This short story is set on a train and involves four different families who discover the cruel reality of losing a loved one by listening to a traveling companion’s own grief about the war and the effect it has on him. It is suggested that Pirandello uses his literary works to reflect the bitterness of self-deception therefore making it arguable that the characters in “War” find reality in death through their companion’s testimony. Because of past denial, each character discovers that they are unstable beings when forced to recognize death. Analyzing the thoughts and opinions of the passengers can support this idea. Each traveler is enlightened after an accompanying passenger shares his personal testimony, shattering all previous views regarding the loss of a son for the benefit of the country.

Pirandello opens the story by introducing a husband and wife, both in deep mourning for their son that is to be sent to the front line. After the couple boarded the train, the husband felt that it was his duty to explain to his traveling companions that the poor old woman was to be pitied because the war was taking away her only son. This upset the couple because their son was assured that he would not be sent to the front line for at least six months and now all of a sudden he was commanded to report to the line in three days. The couple argues with the other passengers that their situation is as dire as it can get because this is their only son and there is no one left to console them if their son were to die. Until the woman met the man who gave his testimony, she mourned as though her life were ending along with her son’s departure. Although he was sent to the front line, “her grief had been greater in seeing that nobody -as she thought -could share her feelings.” After hearing the man’s statement concerning the loss of his son, she came to the realization “that it wasn’t the others who were wrong and could not understand her but herself who could not rise up to the same height of those fathers and mothers willing to resign themselves, without crying, not only to the departure of their sons but even to their death.”

Other characters, which include two other passengers, are also forced to accept the reality of sending a son to the front line. Along with the husband and wife, these two companions also come to terms with the reality of death because of the man’s testimony. One traveler tries to comfort the couple by telling them things could be worse. His son has been in battle since the first day of the war, has been wounded twice, and is already on the front again. The other passenger informs the couple that he has two sons and three nephews on the front. His belief is that even though it is not his only son, he is now suffering double. After hearing the man’s grief about war, all passengers were now in agreement that this is an honorable way for a young man to die as well as the preferred way. They all realized that they shouldn’t mourn for their sons in battle, but praise their bravery.

The man who triggered the passengers to alter the way they viewed losing a son to the country is described as a fat, red-faced man with bloodshot eyes. He argued with the others that he could

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