1. b) The conflict in the story War is an internal conflict within the fat traveler. The fat traveler lost his son and tried to hide his lamentation by being judicious. In the story he gave a speech to the other parents who travelled on the train informing them how their sons were born not only for the parent’s benefits. “If country is a natural necessity like bread, of which each of us must eat in order not to die of hunger, somebody must go to defend it. ” Here the fat man advises the parents that if they really do love their country sending their sons out to protect it should make them feel proud. Everyone should stop crying: everyone should laugh, as I do… or at least thank God, as I do, because my son….. the best way he could have wished. ” But this is very odd in a sense. Yes for sure till this point in the story we can say that this man is wise and open minded. He is very proud how his son fought for the country and the sacrifice of his son is very worthy and something he can recover from. This is why, as you see I do not even wear mourning” and “and our sons go, when they are twenty…. they die inflamed and happy” makes it very clear that the man has pride for his son.
However, the conflict is presented when the woman bundled in corner asked “Then…is your son really dead? ” and the fat traveler “[fixed] his great, bulging, horribly watery eyes” and “broke into harrowing, heart-rending, uncontrollable sobs. ” The fat traveler realized how his son is dead and gone forever. He feels just like all the other passengers, he regrets that his son took part in the cruel war that took away his son’s life. He does not think that giving birth to his son was for the country’s good and not his own.
The fat man cannot possibly allocate himself anymore. This is why throughout his journey on the train he was just trying to cover up his true feelings and mourning. This father finally stripped off his mask and faced with reality. As all walls tumble down for him, the internal conflict is not resolved it is only weaved deeper in his heart. He tries to express himself to others how he wants himself to be like: a proud father who thinks that his son’s sacrifice is worthy and to comfort himself through his own words.
This is why the internal conflict of the story is how the fat traveler or any parent is in deep love with the country it is not possible for them to let go the parental bond and not wear mourning for the loss of their children. The irony in the story is interconnected with the conflict. The irony in the story is where this fat traveler is comforting everyone and being a wise and an understanding parent. But actually he is the one who needs help the most as he is the one who cannot recover his wounds in his heart about the loss of his son.
As all the other parents are just complaining and being depressed of how their children are in the war and they have no idea when they will return or not. But the fat man is forcing himself to put on a false mask and seemingly act how he feels pride that his son fought for the country and the sacrifice of his son was because he was protecting the country which is something that should be treated dignity and respect. The fat traveler also says that his son is glad how he ended his life in such a way.
By acting prudent he tries to comfort himself and transform the sadness into proudness. In the end he fails as he starts “uncontrollable” sobbing and became “horribly distorted” as he realizes “his son was really dead…gone forever… forever…” This is an irony because it is exactly the opposite how the situation would be like. This man should not be crying he should be thanking God how he described earlier about how his son “ended his life in the best way he could” and hot knowing “the ugly sides of life…. bitterness of disillusion”.
The man is the one who understands all the other parents and the one who offers valuable words for them because he apprehends them and is trying to convert them in thinking that their son is fighting for a better country, a country that the parents and the children love. He should not be the one needing the comfort and bursting into tears as when others ask about his son’s death when he is already over the stage of mourning. 2. This story is about war but it does not talk about the battle field or soldiers who are fighting for the war. To me the comment that I would make is a war can change everything.
War is as small as a sound of a gunshot, or as big as the damage Chernobyl nuclear plant explosion can make. In the story “War” by Luigi Pirandello what I can understand is that the changes that a war can make to individuals are ineradicable and very hard to forget. The fat traveler tried so hard to forget about the sorrow he has about losing his son. He put on a fake mask and pretended to comfort the others when he needed comforting and compassion the most. In the end he finally expressed the pain by bursting into tears that could not be controlled.
In other words human nature is to deny information that will create negative effects (in the story the loss of son) and deny certain truth (in this case the fat man’s son as he finally realizes is gone forever). As another example the bitterness that the Jews suffered from the Germans or the cruel crucifixion that the Chinese endured in the Second World War from the Japanese is ingrained into history and everyone nation/worldwide. Some of the pains are carried through generations of people and are impossible to forget.
A loss of a child is a loss of everything to many parents and the fat man is just one normal dad. The joy of waiting for the birth of your child, giving care and watching them walk then go to school, find a job, get married ,start a family and your child watching you passing away is what a parent would expect. However, a father who did not even see how his son die or say goodbye is now trying to not mourn but be optimistic, this is very hard and in a short period of time it is very hard to achieve. Moreover, his son is only twenty.
This is the period of your life where you should be enjoying everything and experiencing everything. However, the fat traveler’s son spent his best ages and last times in a war. No one would call that a nice memory in your early adulthood. Nonetheless, as parents this is a truth that is unacceptable. Other comments that the story makes is the point of how a sudden insight or realization of the truth is very hurtful and devastating (the loss of a son is not easily recovered). The fat man thought by being optimistic and wise he could relieve some of the grief of losing his son. But this proves to be a mistake.
The fat man tries so hard to persuade himself into believing that “our children do not belong to us, they belong to the country…” and”… they die inflames and happy. Now, if one dies young and happy without having the ugly sides of life…. ” Nevertheless he did not succeed. A “fat, red-faced man with bloodshot eyes” whose “bulging eyes seemed to spurt inner violence of an uncontrolled vitality…” transformed immediately into a man whose “missing teeth was trembling” and “ bulging, horribly watery light grey eyes” suddenly “broke into harrowing, heart rending, uncontrollable sobs. He cannot believe that his son was gone forever. And the realization of this fact completely turned him down and beat him hard to the ground. This father has poured tremendous energy in constructing the facade that he hides his grief behind. In the end he turned to look at these people before whom he has so strongly defended the war. This shows that it is extremely challenging to extricate oneself from the mourning of the loss of a family member in particularly one’s child. And the sudden realization of a truth that you are unwilling to accept the aftermath is too dreadful to contemplate.