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Love And War Essay

2174 words - 9 pages

War has the capacity to foster love while equalizing social status. The novels The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje and A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute substantiate the fact, through fiction, that during war-time men and women who are not of the same station in life can find an incomparable love with one another. Each novel also gives evidence of love igniting during war and surviving the trials of time and distance. Hana and Kip from The English Patient and Jean and Joe both go through these trials and tribulations associated with love and war. Whether that love is doomed for failure or a future together forever…it never dies.
The love between men and women of different stations during times of war is manifested in The English Patient between Kip and Hana. Kip and Hana have a cultural difference due to race. Their identities are diverse from one another. Kip was born in the Punjab and raised in India while Hana is a white young woman from Canada and that difference in any other environment would have had an impact on the closeness of their relationship. A relationship between the two in a normal environment would have been unusual. Although Kip’s cultural heritage and skin color is different from Hana, Kip see’s himself as more English than Indian after he spends so much time identifying with other Englishmen. Kip finds himself in a very perplexing situation. He begins transforming and accepting English traditions into his life, while still trying to hold on to his own Indian traditions. Racial tensions were high during the 1940’s, and Indians in England were seen as second class citizens. “In England he was ignored in the various barracks, and he came to prefer that” (196). Kip’s self-sufficiency, “…was as much a result of being the anonymous member of another race, a part of the invisible world. He had built up defences of character against all that…” (196). Initially, their obvious difference is felt. Kip recalls a moment early in the novel and thinks, “But as even she had said, he was the brownness of a rock, the brownness of a muddy storm-fed river. And something in him made him step back from even the naive innocence of such a remark” (105). Hana’s comment though naive was said with pure innocence and admiration but Kip could not help his withdrawal upon hearing her comment. He possibly felt the stings of past racial epithets. Teachings they had each learned about statuses in life influenced their behavior but as the effects of war began to unbalance their lives they found balance within each other.
In The English Patient a passionate love was ignited during wartime between Kip and Hana. Their social status or identity as an Indian or Englishwoman became irrelevant in their search to find order and wholeness in a disorganized and volatile time. Since it is unnatural for anyone to have no human or personal contact, people in wartime tend to come together. Wartime simulates this type of isolating environment which is why when two...

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