Conflicts in Warfare
Sonny Blues by James Baldin
James Baldin paints a conflicting picture of Sonny in the story Sonny’s Blues. It appears that Sonny is constantly trying to prove his worth yet the people that he addresses do not seem to believe in him. As a result, he struggles to change the perception that people have about him, but it becomes difficult. Unfortunately, he has a drug addiction problem, which makes him even more furious because he cannot seem to do without it yet he desperately wants to change and cultivate a serious persona. He exudes confidence and happiness while in public but privately, he is suffering from depression. That is why he does not want anyone to know the reality of his lifestyle. The sadness caused by his depression is something that consumes much of his time due to the stress that arises from knowing that he is despised. Sadly, he keeps slipping in and out of this depression, and not even his brother is enthusiastic to assist him from being addicted to heroin.
The violence in this work is very intense and it is mainly about supremacy battles aimed at becoming king of the Theban kingdom. Though Oedipus is the heir to his father’s kingdom, he initially runs away after a disagreement with his parents. Despite his lack of interest in the position of being crowned king, he secretly aspires to be one. Consequently, he has an altercation with a group of men in the course of his journey and after a brief scuffle, he ends up killing his own father. This is a clear indication of the identity crisis in their family. Oedipus’ prophesy that he would marry his mother, which seemed impossible in the beginning, is fulfilled thereby exposing the conflict between his paternity and ambitions for being a ruler. Therefore, there is a contest between the fulfillment of the prophecy and his perception of future events. This competition makes him behave in an irrational manner with a lot of blood being shed as he tries to eliminate his enemies in his quest to succeed his father.
War Is Kind by Stephen Crane
There is an overriding conflict between good and evil in this poem. Whereas the reader is exposed to the training that men and women undergo before a war, the ugly consequences of warfare are equally revealed. The writer mentions superb skills that the fighters possess, and there is a feeling that their military exercises are meant to deter enemies from engaging in battle. However, the exact opposite occurs and the ensuing fight leaves almost one thousand people dead. The title can be deceiving since one might think that war is something to celebrate. Nevertheless, it becomes clear that it is sarcastic since war leads to confrontations that can turn deadly.
Dulce ET Decorum Est. by Wilfred Owen
Surprisingly, the title of this poem refers to the fact that it is sweet for someone to die for his/her country. That is a misleading notion because the dangers of war are real and soldiers pay with their lives. It is inconceivable then to glorify death, especially when the reason for going to war is not noble. Similarly, the writer says that the soldiers had distant rest. That could either mean a relaxation in a camp after a long and tiresome day or death. It is a reflection on the joy of life and the pain of death as the reader is briefed on the advent of chemical weapons during conflicts. Additionally, it sends a warning to potential recruits not to be deceived into thinking that the life of a soldier is glamorous. Instead, it shows that the life of a marine is cruel, and a person might loose his/her life easily.
The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien
Love is one antagonistic theme present in these short stories. It is primarily experienced by Cross, the platoon leader of American soldiers in Vietnam in which he is torn between his love for his country and the feeling of abandoning other soldiers so as to be with his girlfriend. In addition, one would expect that wartime conditions of stress and fatigue would strain relationships between soldiers. On the contrary, such pressures in fact strengthen the bond between Strunk and Jensen as they realize that they have to depend on one another for survival. Furthermore, O’Brien and other soldiers vow to talk about dead comrades in order to keep their memories alive. Even though such actions tend to provide them with comfort, the reality is that the dead have departed from their midst. Hence, the debate of mortality continues. There is also a battle for honesty in the story since the author admits that he did not kill the man who died outside his Khe. Rather, he only watched him die but wanted to seek sympathy from the reader. Thus, this exaggeration raises the suspense in the stories and brings to the fore the different underlying conflicts in the plot.