Guests of the Nation by Frank O'Connor

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In Frank O'Connor's short story "Guests of the Nation," how are the first and last words of the title related to a particular aspect of the story's style?

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Both the first and last words of the title of Frank O’Connor’s short story “Guests of the Nation” are extremely ironic. O’Connor’s story describes the highly unusual relationship that develops between two English soldiers (Belcher and Hawkins) who are being held as prisoners by two Irish soldiers (Bonaparte and Noble) during the Irish War for Independence. Because the Irish Republican Army is a guerrilla  force rather than an army with massive resources, the prisoners are being held inside the country cottage of an old Irish woman, whose name is never given. The other major figure in the work is an Irish officer named Jeremiah Donovan.

During the time that the English soldiers have been held as prisoners, they have actually struck up surprisingly friendly relations with their two Irish guards. Bonaparte has much in common with Belcher, and Noble has much in common with Hawkins, especially in terms of personalities. Bonaparte and Belcher are both quiet and reserved, while...

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