- Whose war does the author refer to in the title? Support your view with examples from the story.
It’s the boy’s internal war with himself that later manifests as an external conflict with his dad. Neil didn’t know that his dad joined the army, instead of thinking that it was a really busy summer for work. While reading the story you notice a snowball effect that occurs in Neil’s character where because people are lying to him he just starts a mental overflow of negative emotion to the point where he’s not even happy to see his dad when he returns and is instead bitter and resentful towards the situation, losing the war against himself a giving in to irrational impulses that Neil himself doesn’t know why he’s doing it.
- With a small group, discuss whether you think the way Neil reacts to his father leaving is typical of a ten-year-old boy. Why do you think he throws the stones?
It’s typical in the sense that the child is mad for being lied to. It’s also typical that the adult’s made their decisions based on simple logic that the child wouldn’t understand the reasoning that was behind their decisions. But that is where typicalities end, Neil isn’t a typical boy. He’s an outlier being very intelligent being able to move up a grade. And because the boy isn’t typical, that means the situation changes. Neil’s just a child that is wrestling with himself and his impulses, instead of just giving into a rage as a typical child would. He doesn’t channel it in a healthy or appropriate way, actually kind of mocking to his father in the end. But no, the situation isn’t typical.
- Like most stories, the action builds up to an event that’s the high point or climax. What is the climax of “War”?
When the boy finds out his father joined the army. A typical climax, the character just waltz through the pages and we’re giving tidbits of what’s actually happening, being set up for the reader to figure out what’s happening. Until the climax hit when Neil finds out that his father had joined the army. Then the entire plot hits you and then it unravels with the main character then the rest of the story is told with an ending leaving you to go hmm.
- Reread the story focusing specifically on the way Findley has captured the thoughts and feelings of a twelve-year-old boy who is looking back on events that happened when he was ten years old. Focus particularly on the explanations and interpretations that the narrator at the age of twelve offers for the things he said and did at age ten. In what ways does the older version of the narrator understand more fully the significance of the events described in the story?
He really doesn’t, going through the story I continuously forgot the kid was only 10 years old. Throughout the story, Neil seems to have a better understanding of right and wrong then the other kids around him. He is also far more advanced in his ability to rationalize things far better than a mere 10-year-old, case and point; how he tried to rationalize whether taking the golf ball was all right. I felt like I was reading a story about a 13-15-year-old then a 10-year-old.
- Find examples of vocabulary, expressions, and syntax in the story that is typical of a young person. What are some features of language that are used unconventionally to imitate the direct speech of a young person whose use of language is still developing?
The writing is the third person but the entire story is composed as a conversation as if someone was retelling events that have already happened. Now the aforementioned someone is still a child and ends up using strange terms and language like “I don’t like ducks” and anyway, now that you know how old I was and what grade I was into, I can tell you the rest”.terminology that has no place in a third person narrative.