Jack London

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What are the morals in "War" by Jack London?

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Newell Kautzer eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The short story "War" by Jack London is an explicitly and cynically anti-war story in which the futility of being a soldier and the death-filled realities of war are emphasized. In the story, the origins of the conflict, and the conflict itself, that has led to this war is not stated, and readers instead are only given a quick glimpse into the life and death of a scout.

The scout dies while attempting to gather information for his army and is shot to death by an opposing soldier after being ambushed. The scout saw the man earlier and chose not to kill him, and yet he ends up dying by the man's bullet. There is no silver lining in war, and there is no being able to make morality-based decisions while being a solider. The scout is caught in a catch-22 and dies for his attempt to not kill by a man who also must kill or be killed. There is no good way to be a soldier, and the story seems to emphasize that there is only war and the refusal to fight in war.

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The scout who is killed at the end of...

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