It is very interesting to me to see how well the author has managed to show so many different types of people and how they deal with such a tragic situation. The difference in thresholds of endurance that the different characters have (for instance Gabriel and Florence vs. the Pericands). One of the most interesting characters for me to follow is Hubert. One of the most amusing instances of Hubert was when during the church service for his brother and grandfather, he has this huge spiritual awakening and a new outlook on life. It's a very powerful moment for him and then after the funeral, on p. 154, the women only see his cheeks and baby fat and not that "he hasn't changed at all" (155). No one respects this guy at all but he seems to be the least selfless of all. Everyone does seem selfish though in their own way. It also seems the more selfish they are, the less they seem to be aware of it. The back to back war situation was put into perspective for me when men who had already fought in the first war in 1914 were seeing their sons go off and fight in the second war in 1940.
There seem to be a lot of war-like happenings within the setting of the larger war. The cat and its night hunt, Phillipe and his wards. The way they are written, the smaller battles seem almost more tragic than the larger war.
On page 160, Corte worries if his art will appeal to people now that their views of things may have changed since their experiences during wartime. This seems really funny to me since he seems to have no depth at all. How impacting could his work be to begin with? It reminds me of our shallow pop stars when they try to be political. Like Fergie who announced that to do her part for global warming she was going to sell (not keep it off the road) her Hummer and then donate the money to help global warming.
The women in this novel surprised me a couple of times. First, Mrs. Pericand with her traditional roles and the way she embraces those boundaries. It reminded me of my grandma and how she is always trying to get me to understand that men and women need to be married and follow the roles in place for them. She is really caught up in that but she always reminds me that some women don't mind and even embrace the idea of dedicating their lives to their husbands and children rather than finding their own talents and self. Mme. Madeleine another one. On page 133, she explains that she wants to be a nun unless a boy comes along. It's interesting that she sees these options as her only two.