Warfare and Its Meaning in

“The upper lip and gum and teeth were gone. The mans head was cocked at a wrong angle…” (OBrien 126).

At the same time, the author juxtaposes the image of war and horror with symbols and images of beauty.

The young mans head was wrenched sideways, not quite facing the flowers” (OBrien 128) the author also couples ” sunlight ” with ” ammunition belt” (OBrien 128).

These contrasts reflect on the gentle life that the dead soldier once led and his reluctance to be a part of the war. However, he was obliged to become involved because of the pressure for his family and society. This again refers to themes in the other works discussed, where the social views of glory and patriotism are sharply and ironically contrasted with the gruesome realities of war.

In this story, the writer uses descriptive images to achieve his critique of war. This is also juxtaposed with the almost unfeeling attitude of the other soldier who sees death as a part of war and therefore to be accepted.

While all the above studies have different approaches to the subject of war, they can all be understood based on a few themes. The first is that war intrudes on ordinary healthy human feeling and destroys or perverts life, personality and individual integrity. The critique and exploration of what war is really like is therefore a central theme that can be related to all these works. War is seen in the poem and stories as an essentially cruel and meaningless endeavor, which is often misrepresented as being useful and glorious, but is in fact a perversion and destroyer of human life and feeling.


DiYanni, R. Literature: Approaches to fiction, drama and poetry..

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