Guests of the Nation, a Review of Conflicts Essay

542 Words3 Pages
"Guests of the Nation," a short story by Frank O'Connor takes place in 1921 during Ireland's fight for independence from British rule. Set in a small cottage in the countryside of Ireland, the story tells of two Englishmen who are prisoners and are being watched over by three Irishmen. The story tells of the relationship that develops between the captives and their captors and explores the conflict that arises when the soldiers are called to duty. The story consisted of seven main characters, each adding depth to the story and contributing to the development of the plot. Two of the seven characters where the Englishmen Hawkins and Belcher. Hawkins was a "little Englishman" with a "deplorable tongue" who "never did a stroke of…show more content…
Noble and Bonaparte were the young soldiers who were guarding the Englishmen. Both befriended the Englishmen as they played cards with each other and even argued about politics and religion. Jeremiah Donavan, on the other hand, did not have such a rapport with the prisoners. Though he supervised the card games and even yelled at the Englishman Hawkins as if he were one if his own soldiers, he kept his distance and was thus not as close as Noble and Bonaparte were. The plot of the story unfolded as Jeremiah Donavan revealed that the prisoners were actually hostages and that there was a possibility that they would have to execute the Englishmen. As the story continued to unfold, the possibility became reality when Feeney the intelligence officer revealed that the prisoners were ordered to be executed. It is in this pivotal moment that the conflict of the story arises and that the soldiers are faced with a conflict that in turn, proves to be deeply complex in that it is both internal and external. While externally the soldiers had to deal with the act of actually shooting the prisoners (more simply killing a man), internally Bonaparte and Noble dealt with the internal conflict of having to kill a friend. As Hawkins pleaded the case of friends shooting friends, we were forced as readers to also question the call of duty to a cause versus the call of
Open Document